Groundbreaking study shows babies of rich Black women die at higher rates than those of poor white women

The “landmark” study is noteworthy since it is the first to demonstrate how Black families, regardless of their financial condition, are disproportionately impacted by the dangers of childbirth.
TheGrio Staff
Feb 14, 2023

A groundbreaking new analysis of two million births indicates that rich Black women and their babies are twice as likely to die in the year after childbirth compared to their white counterparts.

According to The New York Times, nearly all the infants born to two million first-time moms between 2007 and 2016 in California, the state with the highest annual birth rate, are included in the study, released last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The babies born to the wealthiest Black women, or those in the top 10% of earners, tended to have higher risk factors than those delivered to more affluent white women. Black babies also had more risks than those born to the poorest white mothers — an indication that Black mothers and their newborns suffer harm before childbirth, regardless of socioeconomic background.

A new study has found that rich Black women and their babies still suffer disproportionate harm and risks during childbirth compared with their white counterparts. (Photo Credit: Adobe Stock)

“It suggests that the well-documented Black-white gap in infant and maternal health that’s been discussed a lot in recent years is not just explained by differences in economic circumstances,” said economist Maya Rossin-Slater, an author of the study, according to The Times. “It suggests it’s much more structural.”

Research has consistently shown that Black mothers and babies have the worst childbirth outcomes in America. Pregnancy-related deaths among Black women are three times more probable than among white women, and Black newborns are three times likelier to die than whites.