Date: August 16, 2022
Travel burdens to reach a hospital with obstetric units vary. This report looks at spatial access to hospital-based obstetric units in minoritized racial/ethnic areas.
- Over two-thirds of rural ZIP code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) are more than 15 miles away from their nearest hospital obstetric unit and 27.2% of rural ZCTAs are over 30 miles away. In contrast, less than 9% of urban ZCTAs are over 30 miles from a hospital obstetric unit.
- In urban ZCTA areas with high proportions of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) residents, 34.1% had no hospital-based obstetric unit within 15 miles, and this number increased to 80.2% in rural AI/AN areas.
- Approximately one third of rural ZCTAs with highly represented Hispanic/Latino populations have no obstetric care within 30 miles. This is similar to highly represented White rural communities. However, rural Hispanic/Latino minoritized racial/ethnic group (MRG) areas have much higher uninsured rates than rural areas highly represented by White residents or those without MRGs.
- Results suggest that Black-White maternal health disparities might be independent of distances to a hospital obstetric unit at the community level and instead associated with the social determinants of health.
Peiyin Hung, PhD, MSPH
Rural and Minority Health Research Center