As Mississippi is the poorest state in the United States, it perhaps is not surprising that the state also has the highest rate of premature births in the nation.
At 16 percent, the prematurity rate in Mississippi is more than four percentage points higher than the national average of 11.6 percent. Some parts of Mississippi, including Benton County (22.6), Holmes County (21.6) and Tippah County (20.5) have prematurity rates nearly double the national average.
In Hinds County, which includes the state capital of Jackson, one out of every five births is premature.
Mississippi averages about 137 preterm babies per week, most of which are born to African-American and American-Indian women.