Women in the United States live an average of five years longer than men, and the black-white gap in female life expectancy is now at a record low. But a variety of issues and disparities remain. Here’s a look at a few data points when it comes to women and health.
This presentation is part of The Sun’s annual Women to Watch.
Maryland had the seventh-highest female breast cancer mortality rate (22.9 per 100,000 women) in the country between 2010 and 2014. Nationally, the rate was 20.5 per 100,000 women.
Maternal and infant mortality
Among wealthy nations, the United States is tied for the highest maternal mortality rate and has the second highest infant mortality rates, according to estimates recently released by the United Nations.
In Maryland, maternal mortality rates have declined in recent years, according to the Maryland Maternal Mortality Review 2018 Annual Report. However, this is mainly a result of a decrease in the white maternal mortality rate.
Black mothers in Maryland die because of pregnancy or childbirth-related complications at a rate of 44.6 deaths per 100,000 live births — 3.7 times higher than white mothers. The maternal mortality rate for all races was 23 deaths per 100,000 live births. Detailed data on other races was not published.
Maryland’s infant mortality rate was 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017, according to data from the state Department of Health. That’s higher than the national rate of 5.7, a difference the department attributes to the fact that the state contains a higher proportion of black residents than the country. In recent years, both black and white infant mortality rates have also been lower in Maryland than nationally. However, racial disparities persist within the state.
Opioid overdose deaths
Opioid overdose deaths have skyrocketed among both men and women. Maryland’s death rates are twice as high as the national rate. The largest increase is attributed to cases involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.
State abortion restrictions
The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights nonprofit, analyzes each state to determine whether its policies are restrictive to, or supportive of, abortion.
Baltimore Sun designer Tracie Rawson contributed to this report.