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Census Tract Poverty as a Measure of Socioeconomic Class (Continued)

Infant Death Rates by Census Tract Poverty

Infant death rates by census tract poverty tends to follow a rising staircase pattern; the lowest infant death rates occur in the wealthiest census tracts, and as the percent poverty climbs, so does the mortality rate. For example, between 2009 and 2011, the infant mortality rate in the wealthiest tracts was 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births and in the poorerst, the rate was 12.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.

This pattern occurs for many birth characteristics. For teen mothers, the mortality rate in the wealthiest tracts was 6.2 infant deaths per 1,000 births to teenage mothers, but in the poorest tracts, the infant mortality rate was 13.6 infant deaths per live births to teenage mothers. The infant mortality rate for low birth weight births was 57.8 deaths per 1,000 low weight births for the 2009-2011 period. For the wealthiest and the poorest census tract, the rate was 39.3 and 79.2 deaths per 1,000 low weight births respectively. In cases of deaths due to accidents, the mortality rate for the poorest was quadruple that of the riches census tract;the poorest rate was either double or triple the rate of the richest in every three-year period since 2002. (See Infant Death Rates Due to Accidents.)

Infant Death Rates by Race and by Census Tract Poverty

Disparity between White infant mortality rates and Black rates occurs among each census tract poverty category. In the poorest tracts, between 2007 and 2011, the White mortality rate was 8.6 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to the Black mortality rate of 15.9. A mild staircase pattern of increasing rates is also exhibited by race. Between 2007 and 2011, the White infant mortality rate in the wealthiest tract was 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births and 8.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in the poorest. The Black infant mortality rate in the wealthiest tract was 10.2 deaths per 1,000 live births and 15.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in the poorest.

Infant deaths and live birth distributions by characteristic, race and census tract are provided on this site. However, the number of Black infants who died in the wealthiest tracts was on average 32 deaths per year between 2007 and 2011. Once infant mortality deaths are broken down by characteristic the number of deaths becomes smaller and the point estimates of Black rates for wealthy tracts becomes unreliable; for this reason, tables by race were aggregated by three census tract poverty level categories instead of four.

Distribution of Births by Census Tract Poverty >



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