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NJ Health Statistics
1997

Mortality
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 1997, the number of resident infant deaths was 727, an 8.2 percent decrease from 1996. The infant mortality rate in the state has been declining for more than a decade; the 1997 rate was 6.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a 7.2 percent decline from the 1996 rate of 6.9 (Table M25).

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 1997, the numbers of infant deaths by race were as follows: 390 white, 283 black, 17 other races and 37 deaths in which the race was unknown or could not be classified (Tables M17A-M17I). Infant mortality rates for infants classified as white, black, and other races were 4.8, 13.7, and 1.9 per 1,000 race-specific live births, respectively.

The infant mortality rate decreased from the 1996 level in all three racial groups (Martin, R.M., et al., 1999). The white infant mortality rate declined 9.4 percent over the year, the rate fell 8.1 percent among black infants and 26.9 percent among infants of other races. The black infant mortality rate was 2.9 times the white rate in 1997, a slight rise in this ratio from the prior year=s figure.

Neonatal Deaths

More than two-thirds of infant deaths in 1997 (71.0%) occurred during the neonatal period, which encompasses the first 27 days of life (Table M25). There were 516 neonatal deaths in 1997, which is a rate of 4.6 per 1,000 births. This was a decline of 6.1 percent from the 1996 rate. Of the neonatal deaths, 288 were white, 192 were black, 6 were of other races and 30 had no race stated. The neonatal rate varied by race: the rates for white, black and other race babies were 3.6, 9.3, and 0.7 per 1,000 race-specific live births, respectively. The black neonatal death rate was 2.6 times that for white neonates.

Figure 8

Postneonatal Deaths

In 1997, a total of 211 infant deaths (29.0% of the total infant deaths) occurred during the postneonatal period, from 28 days to one year of life. Of the postneonatal deaths, 102 were white, 91 were black, eleven were among other races, and seven had no race stated. The respective mortality rates were 1.3, 4.4, and 1.2 per 1,000 race-specific live births. The black postneonatal death rate was 3.4 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 1997 (Table M15). Disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birth weight, the underlying cause in 120 deaths, was the second leading cause of infant deaths. All of these deaths were neonates and it was the leading cause of neonatal deaths in 1997. Respiratory distress syndrome was responsible for 56 deaths, almost all of which (55) were neonates. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), was the cause of 50 infant deaths, almost all of which (43) occurred in the postneonatal period. Congenital anomalies and disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birth weight together accounted for 38.8 percent of deaths during the neonatal period. Nearly 40 percent of postneonatal deaths (39.8%) were due to sudden infant death syndrome or congenital anomalies. Deaths due to each of the five leading causes of infant deaths decreased from the levels of the prior year with the exception of newborn affected by complications of placenta, cord, and membranes (a 28.0% increase). In particular, deaths from maternal complications dropped 35.6 percent and SIDS deaths were 13.8 percent fewer in 1997 than in 1996.

TABLE M15. FIVE LEADING CAUSES OF INFANT, NEONATAL AND POSTNEONATAL DEATHS
NEW JERSEY, 1997
CAUSE OF DEATH(ICD-9 CODES) INFANT DEATHS* NEONATAL DEATHS POSTNEONATAL DEATHS
RANK NUMBER RANK NUMBER RANK NUMBER
CONGENITAL ANOMALIES (740-759) 1 121 2 80 2 41
DISORDERS RELATING TO SHORTGESTATION & UNSPECIFIED LOWBIRTH WEIGHT (765)

2

120

1

120


0

RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME (769)

3

56

3

55


1

SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME (798.0)

4

50


7

1

43

NEWBORN AFFECTED BY COMPLICATIONS OF PLACENTA, CORD, AND MEMBRANES (762)

5

32

4

32


0

NEWBORN AFFECTED BY MATERNAL COMPLICATIONS OF PREGNANCY (761)

29

5

29


0

UNINTENTIONAL INJURIES (E800-E949)

20


2

3

18

PNEUMONIA/INFLUENZA (480-487)
9
0 4 9
SEPTICEMIA (038)
7
0 5 7


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