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Rural and black babies have lowest survival rates

As any Washington parent knows, the birth of a new baby should be a joyous and momentous occasion. But new data finds that rural and black babies have much lower rates of survival.

According to NM Political Report, rural hospitals have drastically cut obstetric services. Research from the University of Minnesota found that in the nearly 2,000 rural counties in the United States, an increasing number of hospitals had no obstetric services being offered, and the number jumped from 45 percent in 2004 up to 54 percent in 2014. The hospitals most likely to see these services decline were in counties with large black populations and those with very strict Medicaid requirements. Women in these populations often have chronic health issues that affect pregnancy, and they also have higher rates of both maternal and infant death.

As the Weekly Challenger reports, this is especially true for black babies, who are three times as likely to die at birth than those born in cities. Any rural baby is 20 percent more likely to die than an urban-born infant, but black babies born in rural counties died at a rate of 12.8, while white and Hispanic babies had significantly lower death rates: Babies who have the best rate of survival are white and born in urban counties. 

The age of the mother at birth also has an effect on the death rate, but in every age category, children born in rural areas were more likely to die. For women over the age of 40 in a rural area, their children were 54 percent more likely to die.

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