EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Race and Pregnancy Outcomes in the Twentieth Century: A Long-Term Comparison

Dora Costa

No 9593, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Differentials between blacks and whites in birth weights and prematurity and stillbirth rates have been persistent over the entire twentieth century. Differences in prematurity rates explain a large proportion of the black-white gap in birth weights both among babies attended by Johns Hopkins physicians in the early twentieth century and babies in the 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey. In the early twentieth century untreated syphilis was the primary observable explaining differences in black-white prematurity and stillbirth rates. Today the primary observable explaining differences in prematurity rates is the low marriage rate of black women. Maternal birth weight accounts for 5-8 percent of the gap in black-white birth weights in the recent data, suggesting a role for intergenerational factors. The Johns Hopkins data also illustrate the value of breast-feeding in the early twentieth century -- black babies fared better than white babies in terms of mortality and weight gain during the first ten days of life spent in the hospital largely because they were more likely to be breast-fed.

JEL-codes: I1 N3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-his and nep-ltv
Note: DAE CH
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Published as Costa, Dora L. "Race And Pregnancy Outcomes In The Twentieth Century: A Long-Term Comparison," Journal of Economic History, 2004, v64(4,Dec), 1056-1086.

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.nber.org/papers/w9593.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Race and Pregnancy Outcomes in the Twentieth Century: A Long-Term Comparison (2004) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9593

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.nber.org/papers/w9593

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2020-04-22
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9593