State-level income inequality and mortality among infants born in the United States 2007–2010: A Cohort Study

Pabayo, Roman; Cook, Daniel M.; Harling, Guy; Gunawan, Anastasia; Rosenquist, Natalie A.; Muennig, Peter

United States state-level income inequality is positively associated with infant mortality in ecological studies. We exploit spatiotemporal variations in a large dataset containing individual-level data to conduct a cohort study and to investigate whether current income inequality and increases in income inequality are associated with infant and neonatal mortality risk over the period of the 2007–2010 Great Recession in the United States.

We used data on 16,145,716 infants and their mothers from the 2007–2010 United States Statistics Linked Infant Birth and Death Records. Multilevel logistic regression was used to determine whether 1) US state-level income inequality, as measured by Z-transformed Gini coefficients in the year of birth and 2) change in Gini coefficient between 1990 and year of birth (2007–2010), predicted infant or neonatal mortality. Our analyses adjusted for both individual and state-level covariates.

From 2007 to 2010 there were 98,002 infant deaths: an infant mortality rate of 6.07 infant deaths per 1000 live births. When controlling for state and individual level characteristics, there was no significant relationship between Gini Z-score and infant mortality risk. However, the observed increase in the Gini Z-score was associated with a small but significant increase likelihood of infant mortality (AOR = 1.03 to 1.06 from 2007 to 2010). Similar findings were observed when the neonatal mortality was the outcome (AOR = 1.05 to 1.13 from 2007 to 2010).

Infants born in states with greater changes in income inequality between 1990 and 2007 to 2010 experienced a greater likelihood of infant and neonatal mortality.

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BMC Public Health

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Published Here
September 22, 2023


Social determinants of health, Social epidemiology, Income inequality, Infant mortality