Change Indicator

Medicaid Births - Births with principal payment source of Medicaid by mother's race or ethnicity and by age group in Pennsylvania

Medicaid Births - Births with principal payment source of Medicaid by mother's race or ethnicity and by age group

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Why This Indicator Matters

Medicaid currently finances 42% of all births in the United States.[1] However, this proportion is higher among women who live in rural areas, are under age 19, have lower levels of educational attainment, and identify as a racial or ethnic minority.[2] Research suggests that socially disadvantaged women are at an increased likelihood of experiencing adverse birth outcomes, including fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, and low birth weight, largely due to low socioeconomic status. [3] This is because women with lower SES have greater exposure to stress resulting from poor living conditions, unemployment, limited access to food, and interpersonal factors such as violence or single motherhood.[4] Women of color are also disproportionately enrolled in Medicaid during the perinatal period, with the majority being uninsured before pregnancy and again by six months postpartum. Biases embedded in algorithms, clinicians’ screening tools, and underrepresentation of minorities in the provider workforce demonstrate that structural racism is embedded in every aspect of the United States health care system, leading to many maternal health disparities.[5] Considering the demographic trends of its enrollees, Medicaid could play a significant role in addressing the rising rate of pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity as well as promoting health equity.

[1] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2023). Maternal & Infant Care Quality. United States Department of Health and Human Services.

[2] Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. (2020). Medicaid’s Role in Financing Maternity Care.’s-Role-in-Financing-Maternity-Care.pdf

[3] Gavin, A. R., Nurius, P., & Logan-Greene, P. (2012). Mediators of Adverse Birth Outcomes Among Socially Disadvantaged Women. Journal of Women's Health, 21(6), 634–642.

[4] Campbell, E. E., & Seabrook, J. A. (2016). The Influence of Socioeconomic Status on Adverse Birth Outcomes. Canadian Journal of Midwifery Research and Practice, 15(2), 11-20.

[5] Kumar, N. R., Borders, A., & Simon, M. A. (2021). Postpartum Medicaid Extension to Address Racial Inequity in Maternal Mortality. American Journal of Public Health, 111(2), 202–204.

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Definition and Source



The number and percent of all births where the principal source of payment was Medicaid separated by mother's race or ethnicity and by mother's age group.

Data Source

Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Health Statistics and Research. Pennsylvania Vital Statistics annual report series. The Pennsylvania Department of Health specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations, or conclusions.


Includes only those mothers whose race or ethnicity and age group are known.  The sum of the age groups will not total  'All Ages'.

Hispanic origin can be of any race. If only one race was chosen, the mother is designated as that race "only", but may still be designated as also Hispanic.

Percentages represent the proportion of births by mother's age within each race/ethnicity group that are Medicaid except for the All Ages category which represents the proportion of that race/ethnicity that are Medicaid.

ND = DATA NOT DISPLAYED. Statistics (rates, ratios, percents) are not calculated and displayed for counts less than 10 (or less than 3 for Bayesian/Nearest Neighbor rates). This is due to the unreliability of statistics based on small numbers of events.

Last Updated

May 2024