Race and Inequality in the Chance to Life in Richmond, Virginia.

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    • Abstract:
      Infant mortality has been identified as an important problem at both the national and local level in the United States. The analyses presented here use the matched birth-death records for Richmond, Virginia between 1984 and 1988. The goals of the analyses were to examine how maternal characteristics as well as the characteristics of the census tracts in which mothers lived influenced birth outcomes by race. The findings do not support the position that Richmond's African-American mothers have higher rates of low weight births or infant mortality because they are younger, less educated, or less likely to be married. The data also fail to support the notion that the black/white gap in infant mortality which characterizes this city can be explained as the result of concentrated poverty produced by the social isolation of a black underclass. It is suggested that in order to understand why black and white infants have such different chances to life, research must be conducted which examines intergenerational effects on birth outcome.