Racial Disparities in Black-White Maternal Mortality in the United States

Date

2023

Authors

Assogba, Albert Kofi

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Abstract

This study examines the disparities in maternal mortality between Black and White women in the United States from 2015 to 2019. It explored the persistent Black-White disparities in maternal mortality, shedding light on the factors contributing to these disparities. Assessed the impact of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by analyzing maternal mortality rates in states that implemented Medicaid expansion at different time points across the United States and explored the relationship between maternal age at first birth, parity, and adverse pregnancy outcomes among Black and White women, providing insights into potential contributing factors to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Data from the US Mortality Data (2009-2019), Natality Data (National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 2009-2019), the American Community Survey (5-year Estimates, 2019), and Area Health Resources File (2015-2019) were analyzed. The findings indicated that communities with a greater proportion of Black residents tended to experience more hospital shutdowns for obstetric services. In contrast, states that broadened their Medicaid programs witnessed lower rates of maternal mortality and lack of insurance. Black women were discovered to be at an increased risk of unfavorable pregnancy outcomes compared to White women, irrespective of whether it was their first or second childbirth. The study infers that the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA has a direct impact on maternal health results. Nonetheless, a joint effort from healthcare providers, policymakers, researchers, and communities is crucial to eradicate racial inequalities in maternal health and guarantee equal chances for secure and healthy pregnancies.

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Keywords

Maternal age, Maternal mortality, Medicaid expansion, Parity, Persistent disparities, postpartum

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Department

Applied Demography