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Bird, Sheryl Thorburn & Bauman, Karl E. (1998). State-Level Infant, Neonatal, and Postneonatal Mortality: The Contribution of Selected Structural Socioeconomic Variables. International Journal of Health Services, 28(1), 13-27.


Reducing infant mortality in the United States is a national priority. States' infant mortality rates vary substantially. Public health researchers, practitioners, and leaders have long argued that social and other structural factors must be addressed if health outcomes are to be improved. A knowledge of which structural variables are most strongly related to state-level infant mortality is needed to guide the development of policies and programs to reduce this mortality. The authors examine the importance of several structural (social, economic, and political) variables for state-level infant, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality. With the state as the unit of analysis, data for all 50 states were analyzed using multiple regression. Together, the structural variables accounted for two-thirds of the variance in infant and neonatal mortality rates and over half of the variance in postneonatal mortality rates. States with proportionately larger black populations had higher infant, neonatal, and postneonatal mortality rates. States with greater percentages of high school graduates had lower neonatal mortality rates but higher postneonatal mortality rates. The findings suggest that a better understanding of the relationship between states' social structure and infant health outcomes is needed if state-level infant mortality is to be reduced.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Health Services


Bird, Sheryl Thorburn
Bauman, Karl E.