March 1, 2019
Every mom should have a healthy pregnancy and delivery, and every infant should have a healthy start to life. Below is an overview of key areas where New York still has work to do to improve infant and maternal health outcomes.
The infant mortality rate – or the number of deaths before a baby’s first birthday per 1,000 births – is an important measure that can serve as a proxy for a community’s overall health and access to care. The good news is that in 2016, the infant mortality rate (IMR) in New York City continued its decade-plus long decline to 4.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, down from 6.5 in 2003. In a city with approximately 120,000 births per year, that equates to between 250 and 300 more babies living past their first birthday.
However, despite the positive overall trend, racial/ethnic disparities in IMR remain as prevalent as ever, with black babies being three times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies, the same as it was in 2003 (the IMR is 2.6 for white babies and 8.0 for black babies). Disparities are even more pronounced when looking at the data by community district (where the IMR is measured in three-year periods).