Center for Health Statistics

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New Jersey Health Statistics 2003

Table of Contents  

Preface and Acknowledgements
Infant and Fetal Deaths
Marriages and Divorces
Technical Notes, References & Sources for Additional Data

Prepared by
Maria Baron Duffy, M.A.S.
Center for Health Statistics  

Katherine Hempstead, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Health Statistics

Eddy A. Bresnitz, M.D., M.S.
Deputy Commissioner/State Epidemiologist
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

Richard J. Codey
Acting Governor, State of New Jersey

November 2005

Summary Report
Summary Report [PDF 310k]


New Jersey Health Statistics, 2003 is part of a series of reports of vital events and other health data dating back to 1879. This report presents selected New Jersey vital statistics for the calendar year 2003 and includes data on births, deaths, infant and fetal deaths, marriages, and divorces. In addition, population estimates for the state and each county, by age, race/Hispanic ethnicity, and sex are presented.

In the 2003 report, the chapters on birth and death are each organized into three sections: trend data, cross-sectional state data, and county data. For the first time, infant and fetal deaths are covered in a separate chapter. Also for the first time, deaths as well as births are being reported by combined race and Hispanic ethnicity.



  • There were 116,823 births to New Jersey resident women in 2003.
  • The birth rate was 13.5 per 1,000 population.
  • The median age of all mothers was 30.5 years and the median age of first-time mothers was 27.9 years.
  • There were 7,209 births to teens (6.2% of all births) and the teen birth rate was 12.3 per 1,000 females aged 10-19 years.
  • Births to women aged 35 years and older accounted for 21.5% of births in 2003.
  • The birth rate was 34.8 per 1,000 women aged 35-44 years.
  • Births of twins, triplets, and quadruplets numbered 5,140 in 2003, a 52% increase from 1993.
  • Nearly 10% of births were preterm (prior to 37 weeks of gestation).
  • Cesareans accounted for 32.1% of deliveries in 2003 and the VBAC (vaginal birth after previous cesarean) rate was 13.9 per 100 women with a previous cesarean delivery.
  • Nearly 8% of births were of low birth weight (< 2,500 grams).
  • The low birth weight rate among Black mothers was 1.7 times higher than the overall rate and twice the rate for Whites.
  • Nearly 60% of male newborns were circumcised.
  • In 2003, 35% of newborns were exclusively breastfed, 31% were exclusively formula fed, and 27% were combination fed (both breast and formula).

Infant and Fetal Deaths

  • There were 662 infant deaths and 756 fetal deaths among New Jersey residents in 2003.
  • Infant and fetal mortality rates among Black mothers remained more than twice the rates for any other race/ethnicity.
  • The infant mortality rate among multiple births was nearly six times higher than that among singletons.
  • The infant mortality rate was 1.4 among full-term births, 8.4 for those born between 32 and 36 weeks gestation, and 195.2 for those born prior to 32 weeks gestation.
  • Short gestation/low birth weight, congenital anomalies, and SIDS were the leading causes of infant death.
  • The three leading causes of fetal death were fetal death of unspecified cause; placenta, cord, and membrane complications; and maternal complications of pregnancy.


  • There were 73,410 deaths of New Jersey residents in 2003.
  • The crude death rate was 849.8 per 100,000 population and the age-adjusted death rate was 791.7 per 100,000 population.
  • The age-adjusted death rate was 943.1 among males and 677.6 among females per 100,000 population.
  • Age-adjusted death rates were 779.9 for Whites, 1,059.3 for Blacks, 501.7 for Hispanics, and 355.2 for Asians and Pacific Islanders per 100,000 population.
  • Life expectancy at birth was 78.5 years and was 18.7 years at age 65.
  • The median age at death for all causes was 78 years. For diseases, the median age at death was 79 and for injuries, the median age at death was 45.
  • The leading causes of death among New Jersey residents in 2003 were heart disease (21,801 deaths), cancer (17,551), stroke (3,914), chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD) (2,890), diabetes (2,470), unintentional injuries (2,285), septicemia (1,887), influenza and pneumonia (1,802), kidney diseases (1,680), and Alzheimer’s disease (1,626).
  • In 2003, cancer surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death of residents 65-84 years old.
  • The number of homicides increased 21% from 2002.

Marriages and Divorces

  • There were 50,228 marriages and 27,419 divorces in New Jersey in 2003.
  • The marriage rate was 5.8 and the divorce rate was 3.2 per 1,000 population.
  • The median ages of first-time brides and grooms were 27.6 and 29.4 years, respectively.


  • New Jersey ’s estimated population as of July 1, 2003 was 8,638,396.