Margaret Hicken

Racial/ethnic inequalities in poor birth outcomes: Clarifying the role of precarious work

Research Project Description

Racial/ethnic inequalities in poor birth outcomes such as preterm birth and infant mortality have been well-documented over many decades. However, as most research and intervention has focused on the perinatal period, there have been marked challenges in closing this health gap. We proposed to examine the social and economic context of women of childbearing age beyond the perinatal period, as infant health is a reflection of that context. The growth of the precarious work, defined as employment that has uncertain or unpredictable core characteristics, in the US has burdened those of low SES and racial/ethnic minorities. Furthermore, this type of work has been linked to poor mental and physical health. In this project, we propose to examine the association between precarious work and poor birth outcomes overall and the association between racial inequalities in this type of work and poor birth outcomes. Using state- and county-level administrative data from the Department of Labor (for the creation of precarious work measures), National Center for Health Statistics (for poor birth outcomes), and Census (for social and economic covariates) over the 2000-2018 period, we will examine the associations through the variation in area-level levels of precarious work and poor birth outcomes over time. Clarifying the role of precarious work in poor birth outcomes has numerous policy and intervention implications with potential levers with respect to employment wages and workplace practices.

EMD Serono, Inc
(subcontract: Grant Agreement)

Funding Period: 12/1/2018 to 11/30/2019

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