A new report shows that women in New York City are 30 percent more likely to die in childbirth than they were just 12 years ago, with black women facing a maternal mortality rate of 79 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 10 per 100,000 live births for white women. Furthermore, infant mortality rates among black women nearly triple that of white women.
C. Nicole Mason, the executive director of the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest and author of the report, told us that the spike in the maternal mortality rate among African American women in poor communities is largely based on three factors: Poor prenatal and postpartum care, higher rates of c-sections and most significantly, other health factors, like obesity. In fact, Mason said, 40 percent of women who die from "maternal related complications" are overweight. In short, though, Mason said it's an issue of access. "We really need to think about how women in poor communities are treated from the time they become pregnant until they deliver, and whether they're getting the health care they deserve," she said.
The report, published by the New York Women's Foundation, also found that at 32 percent, Brooklyn has the highest rate of new HIV diagnosis among women. Black women comprise a startling 64.6 percent of new HIV diagnoses, followed by Latinas at 27.8 percent. Ana Oliveira, the foundation's president, told the Daily News that the statistics were "very troubling," and called for a “community-based effort in which we bring together fundamental services.”
Despite conditions for women being most dismal in Brooklyn and the Bronx, the report also said that economic disparities are "most pronounced in Manhattan." Which borough is overall best for women? Staten Island. With lower than average poverty and unemployment rates, the island also has the lowest levels of public assistance and highest median family income.