Differential classification of American Indian race on birth and death certificates, U.S. reservation states, 1983-1985.


Race-specific rates of infant mortality are critical health indicators that require either the consistent classification of infants' race on birth and death certificates or the use of linked birth and death records. Recent studies indicate inconsistency in classification particularly for races other than white or black, resulting in underestimation of infant mortality rates for other races. The present study reports on classification of infants' race from 1983-1985 in 33 reservation states. Improvements in the consistency of reporting of race will enhance etiological research and may assist in targeting effective public health intervention by more accurately estimating race-specific rates of infant mortality.