Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 387–399 | Cite as

Infant Mortality and Socioeconomic Status: New Bottle, Same Old Wine

  • Edward G. Stockwell
  • Franklin W. Goza
  • Kelly S. Balistreri


This paper presents the results of an ecological analysis of the relationship between infant mortality and economic status in metropolitan Ohio for the period 1960–2000. The data examined are centered on the five censuses undertaken during this 40-year period. The basic unit of analysis is the census tract of mother’s usual residence, with economic status being determined by the percentage of low income families living in each tract. For each of the five periods covered, census tracts were aggregated into broad income areas and three-year average infant mortality rates were computed for each area, by age, sex, race and exogenous-endogenous causes of death. The most important conclusion to be drawn from the data is that in spite of some very remarkable declines in infant mortality at all class levels since 1960, there continues to be a very clear and pronounced inverse association between income status and infant mortality. Indeed, the evidence indicates that the relationship has become stronger over the years. These observations are applicable for both sexes, for whites and nonwhites, for neonatal and postneonatal deaths, and for both major cause of death groups. It is concluded that while public health programs are important, any progress in narrowing this long-standing differential is unlikely unless ways can be found to enhance the economic well-being of the lower socioeconomic groups.

Key words

differential mortality infant mortality socioeconomic status 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward G. Stockwell
    • 1
  • Franklin W. Goza
    • 1
  • Kelly S. Balistreri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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