Laura Miles holds her oldest living son, Dasan, 7, in the family’s Durham backyard on Oct. 5, 2019. Photo by Juli Leonard, News & Observer
By Lynn Bonner
January 29, 2020
The News & Observer
North Carolina has one of the worst records in the nation for the deaths of children a year or younger. The rate of black babies’ deaths is a big reason.
Black babies die at higher rates than white babies no matter their mothers’ education level or age. In fact, black babies whose mothers have graduate or professional degrees die at higher rates than white children born to mothers who didn’t finish high school, said Keisha Bentley-Edwards, an assistant professor at Duke University’s School of Medicine who studies health equity.
Death rates drop for infants born to white women 20 and older, and don’t increase until the women are in their 40s. Infant mortality rates are higher for babies born to black mothers of all ages, and they don’t change much as women get older.
“The risk factors for black women are riskier,” Bentley-Edwards said, “and the protective factors are not as protective.”