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Matern Child Health J. 2002 Jun;6(2):99-105.

Differing postneonatal mortality rates of African-American and white infants in Chicago: an ecologic study.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.



This study sought to determine whether neighborhood impoverishment explains the racial disparity in urban postneonatal mortality rates.


Stratified and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed on the vital records of all African-Americans and whites born in Chicago by means of a linked 1992-1995 computerized birth-death file with appended 1990 U.S. census income and 1995 Chicago Department of Public Health data. Four community-level variables (low median family income, high rates of unemployment, homicide, and lead poisoning) were analyzed. Communities with one or more ecologic risk factors were classified as impoverished.


The postneonatal mortality rate of African-Americans (N = 104,656) was 7.5/1000 compared to 2.7/1000 for whites (N = 52,954); relative risk (95% confidence interval) equaled 2.8 (2.3-3.3). Seventy-nine percent of African-American infants compared to 9% of white infants resided in impoverished neighborhoods; p < 0.01. In impoverished neighborhoods, the adjusted odds ratio (controlling for infant and maternal individual-level risk factors) of postneonatal mortality for African-American infants equaled 1.5 (0.5-4.2). In nonimpoverished neighborhoods, the adjusted odds ratio of postneonatal mortality for African-American infants equaled 1.8 (1.1-2.9).


We conclude that urban African-American infants who reside in nonimpoverished neighborhoods are at high risk for postneonatal mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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