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Infant mortality and race

March 10, 2010

A while ago, Steve Sailer noticed that American Hispanics have lower infant mortality rates than American whites, who in turn have lower infant mortality rates than Blacks. Sailer later remarked that Hispanic mothers must “take good care of their health during pregnancy” to produce such results.

That seems very unlikely. Underclass Hispanic mothers are often poorly educated teens who, as I noted in my first post are among the least likely to utilize pre-natal healthcare. “Metabolic programming” and high obesity rates among US Hispanics indicate that pregnant Hispanic mothers don’t have the best diets, either.

Let’s take a look at the numbers, from the CDC:

Notice that relative to Chinese mothers, the Japanese mothers have high infant mortality rates.

Now compare US whites with Europeans:

Rank  ↓ Country or territory  ↓ Infant mortality rate
(deaths/1,000 live births)  ↓
Under-five mortality rate
(deaths/1,000 live births)  ↓
1 Iceland 2.9 3.9
2 Singapore 3.0 4.1
3 Japan 3.2 4.2
4 Sweden 3.2 4.0
5 Norway 3.3 4.4
6 Hong Kong 3.7 4.7
7 Finland 3.7 4.7
8 Czech Republic 3.8 4.8
9 Switzerland 4.1 5.1
10 South Korea 4.1 4.8
11 Belgium 4.2 5.3
12 France 4.2 5.2

Definitions of “infant mortality” vary by country, hence the much touted “Cuba has better healthcare than the US!”* is likely due to differences in reporting methods to a national health agency (or straight-up lies). Generally however, white Americans have much higher infant mortality than Europeans. 92% of whites and probably all Japanese-Americans have health insurance, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Or is it? From NPR:

As challenging as it is for young women to avoid pregnancy, for older women getting pregnant can be difficult. In fact, one out of every 100 babies born in the U.S. is conceived with medical help. And most of the time that means in vitro fertilization – IVF – where eggs and sperm are united in a Petri dish and then embryos are transferred to the woman.

One thing about IVF; it does increase the odds of multiple births. NPR’s Patti Neighmond reports on how some women feel about that and what doctors are doing about it.


NEIGHMOND: The priority in Finland then is to achieve pregnancy with only one embryo. Dr. Veleva and colleagues recently did a study where each patient produced an average of five healthy embryos. A single embryo was then transferred to the patient, the rest were frozen. If the patient didn’t get pregnant the next month, another embryo was thawed and transferred. If the patient still didn’t get pregnant, then the next month another single embryo was thawed and transferred. And so on for several months.

Veleva says in the end women undergoing this process were more likely to have babies than women who received multiple embryos in the first place.


NEIGHMOND: But here in the U.S. doctors say that may not work as well. For one thing, women in this country usually have to pay for IVF treatments on their own. Many just can’t afford multiple rounds of IVF. In Europe, national health insurance typically pays.

Here’s a horrifying logarithmic graph of infant mortality comparing twins versus singletons; the solid lines represent different age-cohorts of singletons and the stripped lines represent twins [From: Misra DP, Ananth CV. Infant mortality among singletons and twins in the United States during 2 decades: effects of maternal age. Pediatrics. 2002; 110(6):1163-8]:

The twinning rate is already higher for blacks (that could explain the racial discrepancy**) and privatized IVF treatments are raising the white rate (and probably Japanese rate). If I was a white demagogue, I would come to the conclusion that privatized healthcare is: “Genocide of White ‘Muricans”. Rahm-care sounds kinda retarded but if actually efforts were made to emulate an efficient British or Canadian NHS-type system, I fail to see how the average American would lose.

*According to the CIA World Factbook, Cuba is 34% black/mulatto. If Cuba’s infant mortality numbers are indeed true, US OB/GYNs should do everything to emulate to Cuban healthcare system.

**Of course, underclass black mothers also have very poor behaviors and diets, so that undoubtedly plays a large role as well.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2010 8:40 am

    What about data regarding mothers age during birth? Would this possibly be a factor?

    I would imagine that Hispanics are having kids at appropriate ages (perhaps a little too young sometimes), and whites are increasingly holding off till unnatural childbearing ages, hence the use of IVF.

    • March 11, 2010 3:00 am

      Yeah, that’s a factor related to overall health of the offspring and hispanics have children much younger. But presumably US whites/japanese aren’t having children *that* much later than their homeland population to produce such significant disparities?

  2. Breastfeed 4 Hi IQ permalink
    March 11, 2010 7:30 am

    Breastfeeding improves EYE Q.


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