Variation in Birth Outcomes among Native Born and Foreign Born Black Women in the United States

Irma T. Elo, University of Pennsylvania
Zoua M. Vang, McGill University
Jennifer Culhane, Drexel University

In this paper, we contribute to the literature on infant health by investigating differentials in birth outcomes (birth weight, prematurity, small-for-gestational age) among native born and foreign born non-Hispanic blacks. We expand prior research in several ways. We distinguish foreign born blacks by country/region of birth and include data from a wider set of states (birth registration areas) than in prior studies. In addition, we use more recent data than what have been used in previous research. Our preliminary results show significant variation in birth outcomes by mother’s region of birth such that infants born to women born in Africa have the most favorable birth outcomes followed by infants of Caribbean-born women who in turn have better outcomes than U.S.-born black women. The inclusion of maternal socio-demographic characteristics did little to explain these disparities.

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Presented in Session 158: Race, Ethnicity, Immigration, and Child Health and Well-Being