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Advance Economic Opportunity

Unstable economic conditions, often rooted in historical and structural inequities, can serve as a persistent toxic stressor for families.

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What We Know

The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age are known as the social drivers of health. Economic security, including employment and the ability to earn living wages, are among these factors that can have a profound impact on health outcomes throughout one’s life course. Poverty often limits access to safe neighborhoods, healthy foods, high quality education and higher earning jobs, which have a direct impact on health outcomes.

Research shows a direct link between poverty and poor birth outcomes, including low-birthweight, psychosocial issues, malnutrition and low educational attainment. Poverty is also closely linked to infectious disease spread and impact, as demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Maternal and Infant Health Impact 

Communities of color experience higher levels of economic insecurity when compared to their White counterparts as a result of racist policies and practices, such as neighborhood red lining. The U.S. has fewer social safety nets compared to other developed, high-income countries, resulting in higher exposure to socioeconomic stressors and inequities in poor health outcomes. 

Closeup of a Black person's pregnant belly
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In 2019, 15.9% of women of childbearing age (15-44 years) lived below the poverty level in the U.S. – U.S. Census

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