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Black infant mortality rate nearly triple the rate of white infants in New Jersey: report

NEW JERSEY — The infant mortality rate for black infants in New Jersey is nearly triple the rate of white infants and double the rate of Hispanic infants, according to a New Jersey State Health Assessment Data report.

The rate measures the number of deaths occurring in children under one year of age per 1,000 live births per year.

“[It] is a critical measure of a population’s health and a worldwide indicator of health status and social well-being,” the NJSHAD said in the report.

The rate has been decreasing in the state since the early 1900s. However, the rates vary greatly across the state and among different demographics. New Jersey has the third largest difference between infant death rates among white and black mothers in the nation.

The mortality rate among black infants is significantly higher compared to other demographics (NJSHAD).

“The leading causes of infant death are congenital anomalies and short gestation/low birth weight,” the report said.

Infants who are born prematurely are more likely to die.  Black mothers in New Jersey are 47 percent more likely to deliver a baby preterm than white mothers.

Additionally, newborns whose mothers receive no prenatal care are at a higher risk of death. The infant mortality rate is higher among the oldest and the youngest mothers. The rate among unmarried mothers is nearly double the rate among married mothers.

The maternal mortality rate among black women is also much higher compared to other demographics, according to data from the New Jersey Department of Health. Of all the pregnancy related deaths in New Jersey between 2009 and 2013, about 46 percent were black mothers.

“Significant disparities in maternal mortality persist throughout the state,” the NJ Department of Health said. “To address increasing rates of maternal mortality as well as the racial gap in deaths, continued focus on maternal mortality as a public health priority is required.”