"These figures present a scathing indictment of the social order that prevails in America, the world’s wealthiest country, whose government proclaims itself to be the globe’s leading democracy. They are just one manifestation of the human toll taken by the vast and all-pervasive inequality and mass poverty that dominates American society."
US maternal death rate soars by 27 percent since 2000
US maternal death rate soars by 27 percent since 2000
By Kate Randall
The maternal death rate in the United States is rising sharply, even as it has declined in other industrialized nations. Between 2000 and 2014, under the Bush and Obama administrations, the nation’s maternal death rate rose by 27 percent and is likely to rise even further.
10 August 2016
This shocking statistic comes from research published online August 8 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. While researchers noted that reporting methods changed during this time period, lead researcher Marian MacDorman of the University of Maryland said that about 20 percentage points of the 27 percent increase reflected a “real” rise in women’s deaths.
These figures present a scathing indictment of the social order that prevails in America, the world’s wealthiest country, whose government proclaims itself to be the globe’s leading democracy. They are just one manifestation of the human toll taken by the vast and all-pervasive inequality and mass poverty that dominates American society.
Along with other indicators of growing social distress and societal retrogression, such figures give the lie to US President Barack Obama’s statements earlier this year that the US economy is the “envy of the world” and that “America is pretty darn great right now.”
In other industrialized countries maternal death rates have fallen sharply since 1990, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). In South Korea, for example, the rate of women dying in childbirth fell from 20.7 deaths per 100,000 live births to 12 today; it dropped in Germany from 18 to 6.5.
Since 1987, the first year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began collecting data, the maternal mortality rate in the US has more than doubled. About 700 women die out of 4 million annual live births.
In addition to maternal deaths, more than 23,000 infants died in their first year of life in 2014, or about six out of every 1,000 born, according to the CDC. Twenty-five other industrialized nations do better at keeping their smallest and most vulnerable residents alive.
The latest research tracking maternal deaths follows reports on declines related to the health of the vast majority of Americans in other areas, including rising mortality rates due to drug addiction and suicide, and a burgeoning gap between the life expectancy of the bottom rung of income earners compared to those at the top.
A major cause of increasing maternal deaths in the US, according to the Obstetrics and Gynecology researchers, is the rising toll of chronic diseases among women. Three decades ago, most maternal deaths could be attributed to hemorrhages (women bleeding to death), pregnancy-induced hypertension disorders, infections in the delivery room and complications from anesthesia.
Pregnant women in the US are now much more likely to die due to preexisting conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, which are more prevalent among low-income women. Cardiovascular disease and cardiomyopathy (related to weakened heart muscle tissue) account for more than a quarter of all pregnancy-related deaths, as reported by Vox. Cardiovascular conditions accounted for less than 10 percent of maternal deaths 30 years ago.
A new report from the CDC shows that in 2014 more than 50 percent of women were either overweight or obese before becoming pregnant. Being overweight or obese in pregnancy is in line with the overall obesity epidemic in the US. While researchers found these conditions prevalent among all socioeconomic layers, obesity is strongly associated with poverty, lack of access to nutritious foods and life stress.
Obese women in pre-pregnancy were more likely to be older than 40, black, American Indian or Alaska Native, according to the CDC. They were also less likely to have attained a college degree and more reliant on Medicaid to pay for their delivery. Being overweight or obese is directly correlated with high-blood pressure and diabetes among pregnant women, conditions that can lead to pre-term deliveries and cesarean sections.
While the risk of death from pregnancy complications rises with age, experts say that age alone does not explain why maternal deaths are rising in the US. Nicholas Kassebaum of the IHME told Vox that pregnancy risks increase “exponentially past the age of 35,” but that “the number of women who have delayed pregnancy in the US has not gone up more” than in other industrialized countries.
Black women are two to three times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth than white women. Government studies have shown that black women are less likely to receive prenatal care in the first trimester and more likely to suffer from preexisting conditions than white women. Researchers have found this to be true regardless of age, education level or socioeconomic status.
According to the CDC, the difference in maternal death rates for white and black women is currently one of the most severe disparities in the US health care system. This is mostly likely associated with a lack of access to health care services as well and the affordability and quality of medical care black women receive.
A 2014 “Shadow Report for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” found: “In Chickasaw County, Mississippi, the MMR [maternal mortality rate] for women of color (595 per 100,000 live births) is higher than rates in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya (400) and Rwanda (320).”
The disproportionate maternal death rate among African-Americans in the US is one of the most extreme expressions of the social divide between rich and poor, and the racial inequities accompanying it. According to the 2000 US Census, Chickasaw County (cited above) had a per capita income of $13,279. Twenty percent of the population lived below the official poverty line, including 24 percent of those under age 18 and 22 percent of those age 65 and above.
A second study in the same issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology also found that deaths of US women during pregnancy or soon thereafter often have nothing to do with childbirth or pregnancy complications. The study tracked maternal deaths in Illinois between 2002 and 2011 and found that more than one-third were the result of car accidents, substance abuse, suicides and homicides—all indications of the pervasive violence in US society.
The rising US maternal death rate must be viewed aside other signs of social inequality affecting the health and lives of working families in 21st century America:
- A drug-addicted baby is born every 19 minutes, subject to grueling detoxification and facing the potential for life-long health complications.
- In 2014, there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths, 61 percent of them from opioids.
- The mortality rate for white Americans aged 45-54 with no more than a high school education increased by 134 deaths for 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014.
- The life expectancy gap between the richest 1 percent of the population and the poorest 1 percent in the US is 14.6 years for men and 10.1 years for women.
These glaring indicators of the social reality—combined with low wages, poverty, debt and other manifestations of economic insecurity for the vast majority of the population—find no mention in the 2016 presidential campaigns of the two big-business parties. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump champion the interests of the ruling elite in the form of increased military spending, corporate tax breaks and cuts to social programs.
Rising maternal deaths and infant mortality and declining life expectancy can be countered only by putting an end to medicine for profit and establishing free, high-quality, state-run health care for all as part of a struggle to reorganize society on a socialist basis.
Poverty has become more concentrated under Obama
By Nancy Hanover
Under the Obama administration, more Americans have found themselves consigned to economic ghettos, living in neighborhoods where more than 40 percent subsist below the poverty level. Millions more now live in “high poverty” districts of 20-40 percent poverty, according to recently released report by the Brookings Institution.
2 May 2016
All in all, more than half of the nation’s poor are now concentrated in these high-poverty neighborhoods. This means that on top of the difficult daily struggle to make ends meet, they face a raft of additional crushing barriers because of where they live.
The Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program report, “Concentrated poverty continues to grow post recession,” is authored by Elizabeth Kneebone and Natalie Holmes and scrutinizes this unprecedented shift in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown.
The report, based on an analysis of US census tracts, shows that concentrations of poverty have grown under the Obama administration in all geography types: large metropolitan areas, small cities and rural areas. In fact, the number of poor people living in concentrated poverty in suburbs grew nearly twice as fast as in cities, putting paid to the myth of affluence or even stability in America’s suburbs.
The growth of social and economic distress within large parts of the US is demonstrated by the statistics. Pockets of high poverty exist in virtually every part of the country, including adjacent to the nation’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Since 2000, according to the report, the total number of poor people living in high-poverty neighborhoods has doubled to 14 million Americans. This is five million more than prior to the Great Recession.
Referring to the “double burden” facing the poor when they live in high-poverty neighborhoods, Kneebone and Holmes say, “Residents of poor neighborhoods face higher crime rates and exhibit poorer physical and mental health outcomes. They tend to go to poor-performing neighborhood schools with higher dropout rates. Their job-seeking networks tend to be weaker and they face higher levels of financial insecurity.”
These effects are clearly discernible once a neighborhood’s poverty rate exceeds 20 percent, the report explains. During the study period, between 2005-09 and 2010-14, the number of such high poverty neighborhoods grew by more than 4,300.
Across many demographics: City and suburb, black and whiteSuburbs accounted for one-third of the newly high-poverty neighborhoods, a higher share than cities, rural or small metro areas. The share of poor black and Hispanic suburban residents climbed by 10 percent while poor white residents climbed by eight percent, almost as much.
BLOG: OBAMANOMICS; FUCK THE WORKER TO SERVE THE SUPER RICH
The palpable effects of the auto industry restructuring, with the Obama administration’s stipulation of a 50 percent cut in wages for new autoworkers, is demonstrated in the growth of poverty in the sprawling auto-dominated Detroit region. Out of metro Detroiters living in poverty, 58 percent now reside in suburban districts, according to a survey by Oakland County Lighthouse.
A recent and similar demographic study by the Century Foundation states that the six-county region has the highest concentration of poverty among the top 25 metro areas in the US by population. This represents 32 percent of the poor living in concentrated tracts.
There has been a staggering growth of poor neighborhoods in and around Detroit, Kneebone told the Detroit Free Press, adding that the number “grew almost fivefold between 2000 and 2010-14.” Detroit now has an official poverty rate of 39 percent, the highest in the US among cities with more than 300,000 residents.
“Sadly this report reinforces what we have been seeing year after year in Detroit and across Michigan.” Gilda Jacobs, of the Michigan League for Public Policy told the World Socialist Web Site. “Poverty is too high, and where people—especially kids—live has a direct and significant impact on their economic standing, health and other outcomes.”
From the Rust Belt to the Sun BeltDetroit, however, is just the most concentrated expression of the national trend. “Among the nation’s largest metro areas, two-thirds (67 percent) saw concentrated poverty grow between 2005-09 and 2010-14,” the Brookings study found. The authors note that some of the “largest upticks included a number of Sun Belt metro areas hit hard by the collapse of the housing market—like Fresno, Bakersfield and Stockton in California and Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona—and older industrial areas in the Midwest and northeast—like Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Syracuse.”
Eight metro areas now show concentrated poverty over 30 percent: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin (30.1 percent); Memphis, Tennessee (31.1 percent); Bakersfield, California (31.7 percent); Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan (32 percent); Syracuse, New York (32.4 percent); Toledo, Ohio (34.9 percent); Fresno, California (43.8 percent); and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas (52.3 percent).
As the WSWS has previously reported, all job growth over the last decade has been “temp” or contingency employment, traditionally the lowest wage levels of any job and paying no benefits. This loss of hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs has impacted communities throughout the US. Concentrated poverty in suburbs has jumped 2.4 points in the wake of the recession, to a record high of 7.1 percent.
What is the “double burden” of concentrated poverty?In her remarks to the WSWS, Gilda Jacobs elaborated on the double burden of concentrated poverty: “So many detrimental factors come with living in high-poverty neighborhoods. There are no viable jobs, public transportation, childcare, or grocery stores. Crime rates are high, there’s blight and abandoned buildings, and the health risks of lead exposure and asthma. Even Detroit’s public schools are unhealthy and even dangerous.
“This is what Detroit kids and other low-income children are dealing with every day, and what they have to try to overcome in improving their futures. These living and learning conditions are all connected, and harm kids’ development and learning, their academic outcomes and their future job prospects. It is called toxic stress when kids are under constant strain. This study reiterates that so many factors affecting poverty are external and environmental, making them nearly impossible to defeat alone,” she stressed.
A series of studies [including George Galster’s “The Mechanism(s) of Neighborhood Effects Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications” and others] have documented how poor neighborhoods undermine even the most determined individual efforts to escape poverty.
Taken together, these studies demonstrate how the escalating growth of poverty concentration exacts an ever-higher toll on American society, affecting many aspects of life and particularly destroying the potential of the next generation.
OBAMA'S BANKSTER RULED AMERICA - THE LOOTING NEVER ENDS!
*Education. High-poverty neighborhoods exert “downward pressure” on school quality. Data from the Stanford Data Archive has recently shown a staggering effect upon child learning capacities of attending impoverished school districts. Utilizing 215 million state accountability test scores, the study showed that “Children in districts with the highest concentrations of poverty score an average of more than four grade levels below children in the richest districts [emphasis added].”
*Violence. Exposure to violence has reached epidemic proportions for low-income youth, particularly among minorities. Parental stress over neighborhood violence is a substantial factor motivating families to move—when they can—from high-poverty neighborhoods, compounded by fears of negative peer influences upon their children. Youth and adults who have been exposed to violence as witnesses or victims suffer increased stress and documented declines in mental health.
*Toxic exposures. Poor areas are chronically associated with higher concentrations of air-, water- and soil-borne pollutants. Lead poisoning is most often associated with older housing stock.
Researchers have demonstrated that depression, asthma, diabetes and heart ailments are correlated with living in high-poverty neighborhoods. Additionally, individuals in poor neighborhoods often receive inferior health care and reduced government services.
* Other effects of physical decay . The inability to exercise outdoors is a known factor in the rise of obesity, especially among children. High levels of noise pollution produce stress, and prolonged exposure to run-down surroundings can lead to hopelessness.
*The poor pay more. Prices in poor neighborhoods are notoriously higher and the goods of poorer quality than those in better-off areas. Food and health-care “deserts” are common. The costs of home and car insurance are usually substantially higher.
*Lack of social cohesion. Disorder and lack of social cohesion are associated with both crime and mental distress. Children who live without a cohesive neighborhood network are more likely to have behavioral problems and have lower verbal skills. Those in areas of concentrated poverty are typically more isolated within their households and have fewer educated or employed friends and neighbors. Low levels of employment in distressed neighborhoods also destroy the informal networks crucial for workers to find good jobs.
THE OBAMA DOCTRINE: ABET CRONY BANKSTERS SO THEY CAN FINSISH OFF THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS. KEEP BORDERS WIDE OPEN TO EASE MILLIONS OF MEX FLAG WAVERS INTO OUR JOBS, WELFARE OFFICES AND VOTING BOOTHS, AND EXPAND THE MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS’ MARKETS IN AMERICA’S OPEN BORDERS TO KILL OFF AMERICA’S WHITE POPULATION TO BUILD A MUSLIM-STYLE DICTATORSHIP FOR ONE BARACK OBAMA, THE “Hope & Change” HUCKSTER FROM CHICAGO.