Association of Preterm Births Among US Latina Women With the 2016 Presidential Election

JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Jul 3;2(7):e197084. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.7084.


Importance: The circumstances surrounding the 2016 US presidential election have been proposed as a significant stressor in the lives of the US Latino population. Few studies to date, however, have evaluated the population health implications of the election for Latina mothers and their children.

Objective: To determine whether preterm births (gestational age, <37 weeks) among US Latina women increased above expected levels after the 2016 US presidential election.

Design, setting, and participants: In this national population-based study, an interrupted time series design, used to evaluate whether policies or other population-level changes interrupt a trend in an outcome, compared monthly counts of preterm births to Latina women after the 2016 presidential election with the number expected had the election not taken place. Women residing in the United States who had singleton births during the study period were included. Counts of singleton term and preterm births by month and race/ethnicity from January 1, 2009, through July 30, 2017 (32 860 727 live births), were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wonder online database. These methods were applied separately to male and female births. Data were analyzed from November 8, 2018, through May 7, 2019.

Exposures: Pregnancy in the 2016 US presidential election.

Main outcomes and measures: The number of male and female preterm births based on the last menstrual period.

Results: Among the 32 860 727 live births recorded during the study period, 11.0% of male and 9.6% of female births to Latina women were preterm compared with 10.2% and 9.3%, respectively, to other women. In the 9-month period beginning with November 2016, an additional 1342 male (95% CI, 795-1889) and 995 female (95% CI, 554-1436) preterm births to Latina women were found above the expected number of preterm births had the election not occurred.

Conclusions and relevance: The 2016 US presidential election appears to have been associated with an increase in preterm births among US Latina women. Anti-immigration policies have been proposed and enforced in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election; future research should evaluate the association of these actions with population health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Interrupted Time Series Analysis
  • Male
  • Politics
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / ethnology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology