Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences


Health Professions

Major Advisor

Dr. Jessica Hume


The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether there is a correlation between the Black maternal and infant mortality rates and food apartheid or food deserts. This thesis will highlight that further research is needed in understanding how food insecurity may influence maternal and infant mortality. This thesis collected data from several midsize cities to assess accessibility to healthy food options and maternal and infant mortality rates. The cities were selected based on similarities in demographic and geographic makeup and having experienced a similar pattern of redlining. St. Louis, Memphis, Knoxville, and Pittsburgh were cities that were chosen for comparison to Louisville. Since Louisville is the main city of focus for this thesis, Louisville will be the benchmark used to compare the other chosen cities. Factors such as food insecurity, food deserts, grocery store areas, and maternal and infant mortality rates were collected. The data from each city was extensively analyzed and interpreted. The data shows there may be a correlation between redlining, food insecurity, and high rates of Black maternal mortality or Black infant mortality rates. The information from the different cities shows that neighborhoods that were colored red during the redlining policies were more likely to have high rates of food insecurity. These neighborhoods are more likely to have high rates of maternal and infant mortality for people of color, specifically Black women and children. Further research is needed to explore food apartheid as another factor that may exacerbate Black maternal and infant mortality rates.