Race Disparities in Low Birth Weight in the South and the Rest of the Nation
Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Rutgers University
This paper explores the sources of race disparities in low birth weight by comparing the nature and size of disparities in the South with the rest of the nation. Using the Early Child Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, this paper examines the extent to which socioeconomic status (SES), demographic characteristics, maternal health and health behaviors explain disparities in birth outcomes by region (South vs. non-South) and by race (black vs. white) within regions and identifies whether the association between SES and low birth weight is similar for blacks and whites in the South, compared with the rest of the nation. Results indicate that race disparities in low birth weight are smaller in the South than in the rest of the nation, which may be explained by worse outcomes for whites in the South, and by a stronger association between SES and health for blacks in the South than in the rest of the nation.