Poverty, prenatal care, and infant health in Puerto Rico

R. S. Oropesa, Nancy S. Landale, Ana Luisa Dávila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Using data from a survey administered to a representative sample of mothers who gave birth in Puerto Rico in 1994-95, we investigate whether prenatal care and infant health outcomes are associated with family poverty and neighborhood poverty. The results show that infant health outcomes are unrelated to both family poverty and neighborhood poverty, despite the association of family poverty with the adequacy of prenatal care and the content of prenatal care. However, the poverty paradigm does receive some support using measures of participation in government programs that serve the low-income population. Women who rely on the government to fund their medical care are more likely than women who rely on private health insurance to have an infant death. They are also less likely to receive the highest levels of prenatal care. Nonetheless, targeted government programs can have an ameliorative impact. The analysis shows that participants in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program are more likely than non-participants to receive superior levels of prenatal care and are less likely to have negative infant health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-66
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Biology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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