Age-Parity and Marital Status Compositional Influences on the Maternal Mortality Rate in Canada, 1930-1969: A Regional Comparison

George Emery


Canadian regional maternal mortality rates were persistently high until 1939, then
showed a declining trend. Advances in obstetrics contributed to the declining trend, but
compositional influences also were important. Woman's mortality risk varied with her
age, parity (previously delivered pregnancies), and marital status. Thus favourable
change in mothers' age-parity distributions contributed up to 24 percent of the drop in
regional rates between 1939 and 1965-1969. Similarly, differences in age-parity distributions
explained up to 22 percent of regional differences in the maternal mortality rate. By
constrast, change in mothers' marital status distributions had slight influence on regional
trends and differences in the rate.

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