Race/Ethnicity, Maternal Educational Attainment, and Infant Mortality in the United States


Fishman, Samuel; Hummer, Robert; Sierra, Gracia; Hargrove, Taylor; Power, Daniel A.; & Rogers, Richard G. (2019). Race/Ethnicity, Maternal Educational Attainment, and Infant Mortality in the United States. Population Association of America annual meeting. Austin, TX.


Recent high-profile papers highlight increasing mortality rates among low-educated White Americans. This paper focuses on racial/ethnic-education disparities in infant mortality, a key measure of population health. Using 2007-10 linked birth and infant death cohort files, we find that while education-specific infant mortality rates are similar for Mexican Americans and Whites, infants of college-educated Black women experience 46 percent higher mortality when compared to infants of White women with a high school degree or less. Analysis of Add Health data show that both low and more highly educated Black women exhibit some substantial socioeconomic, contextual, psychosocial, and health disadvantages across the life course relative to low-educated White and Mexican American women. Overall, the findings suggest that recent focus on the health plight of low-educated Whites, while important and real, should not detract attention from the disadvantaged health prospects of African Americans of all educational levels.



Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

Population Association of America annual meeting


Fishman, Samuel
Hummer, Robert
Sierra, Gracia
Hargrove, Taylor
Power, Daniel A.
Rogers, Richard G.

Year Published


City of Publication

Austin, TX

Reference ID