C Section deliveries

Date: Nov 19 2014

Contact: Daniel Greenberg, 202-777-3913, 504-670-7750 (Nov. 13- 19)

EMBARGOED UNTIL Nov. 19, 2014, 12:01 a.m. EST

C-section deliveries associated with high household income, few minorities, below-average education

New Orleans — Cesarean section deliveries in the U.S. are associated with high household income, few minorities and below-average education, according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association’s 142nd Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

According to the research of nearly one million childbirths:

  • 54 percent of deliveries in low-cesarean-rate counties were in areas with low rates of racial minorities, compared to just 28 percent of deliveries in high-cesarean-rate counties;
  • 69 percent of deliveries in low-cesarean-rate counties occurred in zip codes above the 70th percentile of educational attainment, compared to just 53 percent of deliveries in low-cesarean-rate counties;
  • among the top-10 income earners, 30 percent of deliveries were cesarean in high-cesarean-rate counties, compared to 18 percent in low-rate counties.

“It appears that living in areas with very high income, high educational attainment and low rates of racial minorities may increase a woman's likelihood of having a cesarean delivery,” said Wade Bannister, senior director of health care analytics at Optum.

Even stronger associations were found between higher cesarean rates and concentrations of Obstetrician-Gynecologist physicians per female resident, and numbers of hospital beds per resident. Areas with a lower supply of OBGYN physicians tend to have lower cesarean rates, while counties with higher numbers of hospital beds per resident were more likely to have cesarean deliveries.

Bannister added that “findings suggest that higher availability of obstetrician-gynecologist physicians and hospital beds in a region may play a significant role in higher rates of cesarean deliveries.”

APHA’s 142nd Annual Meeting is themed, “Healthography: How Where You Live Affects Your Health and Well-Being” and will focus on how health challenges are dictated by place.

Session 5180.0: Childbirth and Postpartum Care

Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Information for media:
The APHA Annual Meeting Press Office will be located in Room 204 of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Conventions Center


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.