Poverty, Race, and Birth Outcomes: An Ecologic Study in Maryland

Andrew Williams, University of Maryland
Sandra Hofferth, University of Maryland

Current research suggests that Preterm Birth (PTB) and Low Birth Weight (LBW) rates may be influenced by neighborhood-level poverty and the racial/ethnic composition of the community. Few studies have examined this relationship in Maryland, with the majority of those studies focused on Baltimore. This study will examine the relationship between census tract-level poverty, racial/ethnic background, and rates of PTB and LBW births in Maryland. Vital statistics data will be used to determine rates of PTB and LBW, and Census data will be used to determine poverty and racial/ethnic background of tracts. Initial county-level data analysis will be extended to the tract level to determine overall mean differences in PTB and LBW rates across populations with differing poverty and racial/ethnic backgrounds. The interaction between tract-level poverty and race/ethnicity will be assessed to determine its relationship with racial/ethnic disparities in PTB and LBW rates at the tract level.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families