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The consequences of racial inequality are clearly delineated in an analysis of social indicators between racial groups. Among the more direct indicators of social inequality are infant and general mortality rates (Anderson, 1973:286). Indeed, "no cold statistic expresses more eloquently the difference between a society of sufficiency and a society of deprivation than the infant mortality rate" (Newland, 1981:5). Societies of deprivation that produce higher rates of infant mortality are characterized by low levels of education (Bertoli at al., 1984; Heoht and Outright, 1979), poor health care (Gortmaker, 1879), lower socioeconomic status (Fordyce, 1977), and other problematic environmental conditions. South Dakota is characterized by racial differences in infant mortality rates. Are these rates significantly different? If so, can the social conditions that are associated with high and low rates be distinguished? These are the general questions addressed by this research. Specifically, this research compares and contrasts pertinent vital statistics of the Native American population in South Dakota with the White population. The nature of differential life chances will also be examined.



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