Paul L. Caron

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Impact Of State Tax Policy On Infant Mortality

Jean Junior (Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow, Boston Children's Hospital) et al., Association of State-Level Tax Policy and Infant Mortality in the United States, 1996-2019:

This cross-sectional study examines the association between state-level tax policy and state-level infant mortality in the US overall and by race and ethnicity. ...

In this cross-sectional study, an increase in tax revenue and the Suits index of tax progressivity were both associated with decreased infant mortality. These associations varied by race and ethnicity. Tax policy is an important, modifiable social determinant of health that may influence state-level infant mortality.

There were 148,336 infant deaths in the US from 1996 through 2019, including 27,861 Hispanic infants, 1,882 non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native infants, 5,792 non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander infants, 41,560 non-Hispanic Black infants, and 68,666 non-Hispanic White infants. The overall infant mortality rate was 6.29 deaths per 1000 live births. Each $1000 increase in tax revenue per capita was associated with a 2.6% decrease in the infant mortality rate (aIRR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.95-0.99). An increase of 0.10 in the Suits index (ie, increased tax progressivity) was associated with a 4.6% decrease in the infant mortality rate (aIRR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99). Increased tax progressivity was associated with decreased non-Hispanic White infant mortality (aIRR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99), and increased tax revenue was associated with increased non-Hispanic Black infant mortality (aIRR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01-1.08).

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Taxes Save Babies’ Lives:

A compelling new examination over multiple years and multiple states found that infants are more likely to survive to age one in states that raise more revenue and raise it from those most able to pay. Generating taxes from rich people and corporations can help babies make it to their first birthday.

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman)

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