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Perspectives

Publication Date

5-20-2021

Abstract

Infant mortality is globally recognized as an indicator for overall health in a population. The United States spends the most money per capita on health expenditures, a total of 17.1% of the budget in 2016 (cia.gov). Despite this, the United States’ ranking for infant mortality is 174th (cia.gov). Moreover, rates of infant mortality are not experienced equally across racial groups. The rate of infant mortality for African Americans in the United States is compounded. African American infants are more than 2 times as likely to die before their first birthday than non-Hispanic white infants (West and Bartkowski 2019:1). The purpose of this literature review is to analyze how health care insurance coverage, birth education attainment, and structural racism contribute to the disparity of infant mortality amongst African Americans in the US. After defining these factors, I will discuss existing literature on how each contributes to infant mortality. Next, I will take a holistic approach on examining how these three factors interact with each other to sustain adverse health outcomes that disproportionately affect African Americans and other minority populations. Overall, the cyclical impact of these factors perpetuates the disparity of African American infant mortality rates.

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