OBJECTIVES: No studies have examined the association between preterm birth rates and socioeconomic factors in Japan using nationwide statistical data. We analyzed the association between preterm birth rates and household occupation using Vital Statistics data. METHODS: Aggregated Vital Statistics data from Japan from 2007 to 2019 were obtained from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. From the data, the number of births according to year, age group, gestational period, number of pregnancies, and household occupation were used in this study. Crude preterm birth rates and preterm birth rates adjusted by maternal age according to household occupation were calculated for each year. Poisson regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the association between household occupation and preterm births. RESULTS: Unemployed households had the highest preterm birth rate, and households with an occupation classification of "full-time worker 2" (an employee at a large company, civil servant, or board member) had the lowest preterm birth rate throughout each period. Poisson regression analysis revealed that unemployed households were statistically significantly associated with a high preterm birth risk. In contrast, the preterm birth rate adjusted by maternal age remained stable throughout each period regardless of household occupation, and preterm birth rates were found not to have increased in recent years in Japan. CONCLUSIONS: Unemployed households had higher preterm birth rates than other household occupations. Further studies investigating the characteristics of unemployed households are needed to identify the reasons for this disparity.
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