Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Facts About Infant Mortality

Steve Chapman -- African-American babies are far more likely to die than white ones, which is often taken as evidence that poverty and lack of health insurance are to blame. That's entirely plausible until you notice another racial/ethnic gap: Hispanics of Mexican or Central or South American ancestry not only do consistently better than blacks on infant mortality, they do better than whites. Social disadvantage doesn't explain very much.

Thomas Sowell -- While it is true that black mothers get less prenatal care than white mothers and have higher infant mortality rates, it is also true that women of Mexican ancestry also get less prenatal care than white women and yet have lower infant mortality rates than white women. But, once people with the prevailing social vision see the first set of facts, they seldom look for any other facts that might go against the explanation that fits their vision of the world.

Originally posted at Carpe Diem.


At 8/25/2009 11:05 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Consider Gregory Mankiw's Beyond Those Health Care Numbers as posted at the American Enterprise Institute...

At 8/25/2009 1:03 PM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

Wait, there couldn't possibly be any difference between any of the races. I'm going to have to report you to the PC police.

At 8/25/2009 6:48 PM, Anonymous Dr. T said...

From my personal experience and readings, the difference between African-American and Mexican-American infant mortality rates is mostly due to differences in prenatal care. Pregnant African-American women are less likely to get prenatal care than any other racial or ethnic group. Partially because of that, they are more likely to smoke, drink, and use "recreational" drugs throughout their pregnancies. Another problem is the low age for first pregnancy among African-Americans. Preteen girls are more likely to have delivery complications.

I did my obstetrics rotation at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. I saw four pregnant eleven-year-olds, a seventeen-year-old delivering her fourth infant, numerous women arriving in labor after no prenatal visits, women on cocaine being admitted to Labor & Delivery, etc. All these cases were among African-Americans. It was rare for a white or hispanic woman to arrive at L&D with no prenatal visits. I never saw any intoxicated white or hispanic women on the L&D unit.

The infant mortality problem directly relates to a toxic inner city African-American culture that condones youthful sexuality, child pregnancies, abuse of drugs, and disregard for health. If that doesn't get fixed, the high infant mortality rates will continue. This problem is at least thirty years old, and it has not lessened. (No, I don't have the answer.)


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