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Teenage fertility, socioeconomic status and infant mortality

  • Michael K. Miller (a1) and C. Shannon Stokes (a2)

Summary

The paper examines the relationship between infant mortality and a complex measure of socioeconomic status for evidence of diminution. In data on counties in the United States with a minimum of 20 infant deaths over the 5-year period 1971–75, no evidence of a declining relationship between socioeconomic status and infant mortality was found. Both level of community affluence and racial composition of the population exerted direct effects on levels of infant deaths. In addition, both socioeconomic status and racial composition exhibited indirect effects which operated through teenage childbearing. When total infant mortality was subdivided, teenage fertility serves as a mediating variable in the link between socioeconomic status and neonatal mortality, but not for the postneonatal components. Given the nearly equivalent total effect of socioeconomic status on infant mortality, it is concluded that the classic division into neonatal (supposedly a function of biological and genetic agents) and postneonatal (traditionally attributed to social and environmental agents), may be too crude to allow the contemporary effects of the socioenvironmental milieu to be evaluated effectively.

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Teenage fertility, socioeconomic status and infant mortality

  • Michael K. Miller (a1) and C. Shannon Stokes (a2)

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