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Maternal Education and Infant Health Gradient: New Answers to Old Questions

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  • Vinish Shrestha

    () (Department of Economics, Towson University)

Abstract

By using data from the National Vital Statistics System, this study provides an in-depth investigation of the well-documented mother's education-infant health gradient. The study allows for differential relationship between mother's education and infant health outcomes across localities based on income status by using birthweight and low birthweight as health measures. The results show that mother's education-infant birth-weight relationship is more concentrated at relatively poor geographic areas. This can partially be explained by increases in utilization of health services among educated mothers residing in poorer areas compared to mothers with lower levels of education. Although the magnitude of education-health gradient has decreased in recent years, the gradient is still more pronounced in poorer localities. Access to health care during pregnancy, measured by adequacy of care, has improved particularly among less educated mothers living in poorer areas. However, smoking participation during pregnancy has declined substantially among less educated mothers across all geographic localities in recent years. Additionally, mother's education-infant health gradient is similar across black and white race groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Vinish Shrestha, 2019. "Maternal Education and Infant Health Gradient: New Answers to Old Questions," Working Papers 2019-03, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised May 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2019-03
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Returns to Education; Infant Health; Birthweight; Poverty.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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