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Study Finds U.S. Rural Areas Have Higher Infant Mortality Rates Than Urban Areas

A new study by the National Center for Health Statistics finds babies born to mothers in rural areas are at greater risk of infant mortality than those in urban settings in the U.S.

Sudden infant death syndrome cases in rural counties were almost twice as high as in large urban areas.


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Death from birth defects shows rural counties to be 30 percent higher.

Tammy Evans, the director of San Joaquin County Public Health, says poverty, disadvantaged communities, and stress in the rural areas can be bigger factors than in an urban setting.

“There’s more chronic financial stress which can also lead to depression, can lead to premature birth and greater health issues in the infant.”

Evans says the urban setting offers more access to medical care and maternal nutrition programs.

Figure 1 Infant Mortality

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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