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New Jersey Health Statistics 1996

MORTALITY
1996


INFANT MORTALITY

OVERVIEW

Infant mortality is defined as the number of deaths within the first year of life; the infant mortality rate is computed as the number of infant deaths in a calendar year per 1,000 live births recorded for the same period. In 1996, the number of resident infant deaths was 792, a 2.2 percent increase from 1995. The infant mortality rate in the state has been generally declining for more than a decade; however the 1996 rate of 6.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births was a 3.0 percent increase over the 1995 rate of 6.7 (Table M25 and Figure M11).

Infant mortality rates continue to differ by race. In assessing infant mortality rates by race, it should be noted that live newborns are assigned the racial classification of the mother for purposes of analysis, but death certificates may be assigned a racial classification by hospital staff, the respondent providing information for the death certificate, or others. In 1996, the numbers of infant deaths by race were as follows: 436 white, 301 black, 22 other races, and 33 deaths in which the race was unknown or could not be classified (Tables M23A-M23J). Infant mortality rates for infants classified as white, black, and other races were 5.3, 14.9, and 2.6 per 1,000 race-specific live births, respectively.

The infant mortality rate decreased from the 1995 level among whites and other races, but increased among blacks (Martin, R.M., et al., 1998). The white infant mortality rate declined 5.4 percent over the year and decreased 3.7 percent among infants of other races. The rate rose 9.6 percent among black infants. The black infant mortality rate was 2.8 times the white rate in 1996, a slight increase over the prior year=s ratio of 2.4.

NEONATAL DEATHS

More than two-thirds of infant deaths in 1996 (70.2%) occurred during the neonatal period, which encompasses the first 27 days of life (Table M25). There were 556 neonatal deaths in 1996, which is a rate of 4.9 per 1,000 live births. This was an increase of 4.3 percent from the 1995 rate. Of the neonatal deaths, 324 were white, 198 were black, 12 were of other races, and 22 had no race stated. The neonatal rate varied by race: the rates for white, black, and other race babies were 3.9, 9.8, and 1.4 per 1,000 race-specific live births, respectively. The black neonatal death rate was 2.5 times that for white neonates.

Figure M11

POSTNEONATAL DEATHS

In 1996, there were 236 infant deaths (29.8% of all infant deaths) which occurred during the postneonatal period, from 28 days to one year of life. Of the postneonatal deaths, 112 were white, 103 were black, ten were among other races, and eleven had no race stated. The respective mortality rates were 1.4, 5.1, and 1.2 per 1,000 race-specific live births. The black postneonatal death rate was 3.6 times that for whites.

LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH

The causes of deaths of infants are different in the neonatal and postneonatal periods. Congenital anomalies were the leading cause of death of infant deaths in 1996 (Table M21), although this cause was only the second leading cause of death for both neonates (88 deaths) and postneonates (45 deaths). Disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birth weight, the underlying cause in 124 deaths, was the second leading cause of infant deaths. All of these were neonatal deaths. Sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory distress syndrome were responsible for 58 and 57 deaths, respectively. The fifth leading cause of infant deaths in 1996, maternal complications of pregnancy affecting the newborn, was the cause of 45 infant deaths, all of which occurred in neonates. Disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birth weight and congenital anomalies together accounted for 38.1 percent of deaths during the neonatal period. More than 40 percent of postneonatal deaths (42.4%) were due to sudden infant death syndrome or congenital anomalies. Deaths due to each of the four leading causes of infant deaths decreased from the levels of the prior year. In particular, deaths from respiratory distress syndrome dropped 21.9 percent from 1995 (Martin, R.M., et. al., 1998).

TABLE M21. FIVE LEADING CAUSES OF INFANT, NEONATAL AND POSTNEONATAL DEATHS
NEW JERSEY, 1996
CAUSE OF DEATH
(ICD-9 CODES)
INFANT DEATHS NEONATAL DEATHS POSTNEONATAL DEATHS
RANK NUMBER RANK NUMBER RANK NUMBER
CONGENITAL ANOMALIES (740-759) 1 133 2 88 2 45
DISORDERS RELATING TO SHORTGESTATION & UNSPECIFIED LOWBIRTH WEIGHT (765) 2 124 1 124
0
SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME (798.0) 3 58
3 1 55
RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME (769) 4 57 3 55
2
NEWBORN AFFECTED BY MATERNAL COMPLICATIONS OF PREGNANCY (761) 5 45 4 45
0
INFECTIONS SPECIFIC TO THE PERINATAL PERIOD (771)
31 5 27
4
PNEUMONIA/INFLUENZA (480-487)
21
4 3 17
SEPTICEMIA (038)
13
0 4 13
HOMICIDE (E960-E969)
13
3 5 10
 

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Department of Health
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