Socioeconomics in the United States

Abbie Key
4 min readFeb 15, 2021

Socioeconomics is based on the social standing or class of an individual or group and is measured through a combination of education, income and occupation. According to the article “The interplay of race, socioeconomic status and neighborhood residence upon birth outcomes in a high black infant mortality community” their study suggested that “Black women with higher socioeconomic status (SES) who lived in a racially incongruous neighborhood (e.g., disproportionately White) had the worst outcomes (14.5% low birth weight). Demonstrating the layered influence of personal and community circumstances upon health, in a community with substantial racial disparities, personal race and SES independently contribute to birth outcomes, while environmental context, specifically neighborhood racial congruity, is associated with mitigated health risk.” The main socioeconomic factor this study focused on was the neighborhood and area they are from while pregnant. The results show that in predominantly white neighborhoods where the mother is from, it affects the outcome of the baby and the success of the birth for the mom. In order for these black families to increase their success rates in childbirth and to have a safer environment to live in, like any of us, they tend to congregate with people like themselves. However, these communities are a victim of socioeconomic discrimination. In the article “Ethnic and Racial Minorities & Socioeconomic Status” written by the American Psychological Association, it further explains the impact on communities that are segregated by socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. “These communities commonly share characteristics: low economic development; poor health conditions; and low levels of educational attainment; Low SES has consistently been implicated as a risk factor for many of these problems that plague communities” (Ethnic and Racial Minorities & Socioeconomic Status). In these communities, the safety and help that the mother needs is not provided furthering complications regarding childbirth. What do women who need help with their health do? They go to the doctors expecting a different type of treatment. Healthcare, as we know it, has it’s controversy in the United States.

When studies are done about black pregnant mothers, it is done during the time frame of pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum because each stage is just as important as the other. Postpartum is as important as the delivery for the mother because it is the time for the mother’s body to heal. Did you know that the United States is the only high-income country that doesn’t cover postpartum home visits through most insurances? In countries like Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland the most important time for the mother is insured. Insurance in the United States is the determining factor for what type of care you receive in the medical field. The authors of “Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity,” Sofia Carratala and Connor Maxwell, explain that “In 2017, 10.6 percent of African Americans were uninsured compared with 5.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites.” without insurance, it is much more difficult to receive the care that is essential.

In “A Shadow Report for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” the paper explains the results of a report done in 2012. “The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research found that access to health care is decreasing, especially for people of color and low-income groups. Consequently, low-income and uninsured Black women are already at high risk of maternal death by the time they become pregnant. Compared to White women, women of color fare significantly worse in key general health indicators including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and hypertension.” This gap in the insured because of race is due to the impact of socioeconomics.

While a lot of these disputes regarding the socioeconomic aspect of discrimination involve the ways of healthcare, a very important factor to help remove these biases is to change the way our brains are wired to think. In my english class we were told to listen to the podcast by National Public Radio called “The Culture Inside.” Alix Spiegel, the host of the podcast series “Invisibilia,” interviews a number of people to get to the bottom of implicit bias. Spiegel consults with Patricia Devine, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison about her “idea of thinking of prejudice as a habit, created the intervention that you hear running under my voice” (The Culture Inside : Invisibilia). Devine mentions a way she recommends a technique to help end or at least limit the implicit bias that many Americans have: “Detect, reflect and reject.” Devine explained this idea by using questions to get to the bottom of these thoughts. Devine says to “Become aware of when is it that I think in those ways? When does that stereotype pop to mind? And that awareness turns out to be critical in trying to move forward to reduce the tendency to think in stereotypic ways” (The Culture Inside : Invisibilia).

All of the reasons that black women have a higher maternal mortality rate circles back to a bias that has been developed over generations. The main way to really end these discriminations in the hospital, socioeconomically, and day to day life, is to change the default wiring created by society.

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Abbie Key
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In a world where you can be anything, be kind