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Related Indicators:

  • Infant Mortality-Less Than One Year of Age [view data]
  • Infant Mortality-Neonatal (Under 28 Days of Age) [view data]
  • Infant Mortality-Postneonatal (28 Days-1 Year of Age) [view data]

Life Area:

Physical and Emotional Health

Definition:

Infant mortality is the number of deaths to infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births. Neonatal is the number of deaths to infants under 28 days of age and Post-neonatal mortality is the number of deaths to infants 28 days (considered 1 month)  to less than 1 year of age per 1,000 live births.

Infant, neonatal, and post-neonatal deaths are relatively rare events in many counties, the numbers and rates are presented as three-year averages.

Significance:

Infant, neonatal, and post-neonatal mortality is one of the most widely used indicators of the health and welfare of a population as it reflects the general state of maternal health and the effectiveness of primary health care systems. Infant, neonatal, and post-neonatal mortality rates have declined steadily since the 1970s, primarily due to advances in neonatal care (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). However, as of 2000, the United States ranked 27th among industrialized countries that report these rates to the World Health Organization (National Center for Health Statistics, 2004).

Low birthweight is the most important predictor of infant mortality. In 2002, 60.3 percent of all infant deaths in the United States occurred to the 7.8 percent of infants born at low birthweight (<2500 grams). Other factors associated with higher rates of infant mortality include: maternal age (either mothers in their teens or older than 40), low maternal education, maternal smoking, low socioeconomic status, multiple birth and fourth or higher in birth order (National Center for Health Statistics, 2004: Table 25).

Healthy People 2020 objectives call for a national reduction in the infant mortality rate to no more than 4.5 per 1,000 live births. The objectives also call for a national reduction in the neonatal, and post-neonatal mortality rate to no more than 2.9 and 1.5, respectively, per 1,000 live births (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).

New York State has met the Healthy People 2020 national health objective of no more than 6.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

The U.S. infant mortality rate decreased between 2002 and 2003 to 6.8 per 1,000 live births. In 2002 however, the U.S. infant mortality rate increased for the first time in 40 years. (For a detailed explanation of recent changes in infant mortality refer to National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 53, Number 12, January 24, 2005).

Three-year averaging is necessary to improve the reliability (or stability) of the data. For example, in a small county, a serious tragedy such as a fatal fire or an automobile accident may cause the infant, neonatal, or post-neonatal mortality rate to fluctuate greatly from one year to another.

Note:

Three-year averaging is necessary to improve the reliability (or stability) of the data. For example, in a small county, a serious tragedy such as a fatal fire or an automobile accident may cause the infant, neonatal, or postneonatal mortality rate to fluctuate greatly from one year to another.

Findings:

  • In New York State, the infant mortality, neonatal mortality and post-neonatal mortality are low with small changes in the past years. New York City rates remain lower or the same as the rates for the State and Rest of State.
  • In New York State, the infant mortality rate declined from 5.3 per 1,000 live birth in 2008-2010 to 4.8 per 1,000 live birth in 2012-2014, a half percentage point decline. The rate among residents in New York City was 4.2 per 1,000 live births, lower than the rate of 5.3 per 1,000 among residents of Rest of State.
  • The neonatal mortality rate declined slightly from 3.6 per 1,000 live births in 2008-2010 to 3.3 per 1,000 in 2012-2014. The rate among residents in New York City was at 2.8 per 1,000, lower than in Rest of State at 3.8 per 1,000. In both New York City and Rest of State, the neonatal mortality rate declined slightly by 0.1 percentage point compared to their rates in 2011-2013.
  • In New York State, the post-neonatal mortality rate declined from 1.7 per 1,000 live birth in 2008-2010 to 1.5 per 1,000 live birth in 2012-2014, a decline of 0.2 percentage points. An average of 351 post-neonatal infants died each year in 2012-2014, which was similar to the average in 2011-2013 at 364 per 1,000. The rate did not vary among residents in New York City or Rest of State at 1.5 per 1,000 and 170 and 181 average post-neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births respectively.

References:

National Center for Health Statistics. (2004). Health, United States, 2004 with Socioeconomic Status and Health Chartbook.Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Healthy People 2010 (Conference Edition in Two Volumes). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol.53, No. 12, January 24, 2005.

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