| Things to think about
According to the
1996 Blue Ribbon Panel on Black Infant Mortality Reduction,
black infant mortality is not caused by any one factor. Even
when variables such as income, education, maternal age, and
are similar, black women still deliver babies who die before
age one twice as often as white women.
Despite its wealth,
the United States has one of the highest infant mortality rates
in the industrialized world. After decades of progress in addressing
the inequities among ethnic and social groups, many
mortality is commonly used as a surrogate for the overall social
development of a society. In New Jersey, as in the rest of the
country, the odds of survival for a baby depend in part on the
baby’s color. Infant mortality rates are falling in our state,
but the gap between the rate for blacks and the state average
shows little change. Among black infants, mortality rates are
generally about twice as high as the state average; the same
is true nationally.
to provide for our children is governed, in part, by our access
to economic opportunity. Infant mortality can be used as a proxy
for other issues that are harder to measure, such as a lack
of job opportunities, lack of upward mobility and education,
reduced access to general health care services, and even for
the frustration among those of us who receive fewer benefits
from the state’s economy.
Impoverished communities have higher infant
mortality rates. Families who live in poorer areas may more
often be exposed to adverse environmental conditions, ranging
from second-hand smoke to toxins, including conditions that
can complicate pregnancies.
in infant mortality may be a strong indicator that we are a
divided society. A divided society will always have more difficulty
acting to solve its problems than one that is unified.
do not have historic and consistent data for races other than
black and white. Our state is more diverse than a simple black-white
comparison can illustrate.
Data Source: NJ Department of Health & Senior