The COVID-19 pandemic along with the growing racial justice movement have highlighted longstanding disparities in health and health care for people of color, including stark disparities in maternal and infant health. Despite continued advancements in medical care, rates of maternal mortality and morbidity and pre-term birth have been rising in the U.S. Maternal and infant mortality rates in the U.S. are far higher than those in similarly large and wealthy countries, and people of color are at increased risk for poor maternal and infant health outcomes. This issue brief by Kaiser Family Foundation provides an overview of racial and ethnic disparities across selected measures of maternal and infant health. It is based on KFF analysis of publicly available data on CDC WONDER and the 2018 American Community Survey. While this brief focuses on racial/ethnic disparities in maternal and infant health, wide disparities also exist across other dimensions, for example, and there is significant variation in some of these measures across states and disparities within rural communities.

Authors: Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

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