This working paper — which updates previous Right Start reports — looks at eight healthy birth measures from 1990 to 1999. It examines these measures at the state level, nationwide and by grouping together America’s 50 largest cities. The paper traces the history of Right Start, including a discussion of what motivated the original project, how cities and states were chosen and how specific birth indicators were selected.
There’s good news — and some bad news — after crunching data on healthy birth measures
Findings & Stats
Measures Under the Microscope
This report focuses on eight healthy birth measures: 1) teen births; 2) repeat teen births; 3) births to single women; 4) births to mothers with a low educational attainment; 5) late or no prenatal care; 6) smoking during pregnancy; 7) low-birthweight babies; and 8) preterm births.
Children born to an unmarried, teenage high-school dropout are 10 times more likely to live in poverty compared to children born to a married, high-school graduate over the age of 20.
An Uneven Start
The infant mortality rate is 20 times higher for low-birthweight babies than it is for babies born at a normal birth weight.
America’s largest cities fare worse than the nation as a whole on all but one measure: smoking during pregnancy.
A Reason to Quit
Studies show that tobacco use during pregnancy is linked to negative consequences for child health and development.
Statements & Quotations
Whether an expectant mother smokes, whether she receives prenatal care, how much education a new mother has and her age when she gives birth are valuable predictors of the resources that are likely to be available to a child.
This compilation of 10 years of data continues to show that, collectively, cities lag behind the rest of the country for most measures of a healthy birth.