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  • Age-specific birth rates increased among older women and decreased among younger women.

  • The percentage of births occurring to women under age 20 declined, while the percent of births to women 35 years and over increased.

  • The median age of women who gave birth in 1998 was 30.1.

  • Multiple births (twins, triplets, and higher order) accounted for 4.1 percent of all births in 1998.

  • Nearly 40 percent of women giving birth in 1998 were first time mothers.

  • Over 50 percent of black non-Hispanic women, Hispanic women, and all women under the age of 25 who gave birth were unmarried.

  • Eleven percent of mothers reported that they smoked while they were pregnant.

  • Diabetes (either pre-existing or gestational) was the most frequently reported medical risk factor among women delivering in 1998. However, among teens, sexually transmitted diseases were more common.

  • Nearly all mothers who delivered in 1998 had electronic fetal monitoring.

  • The percentage of black non-Hispanic newborns of low birth weight was nearly twice the overall percentage of low birth weight babies.

  • The low birth weight rate among multi-parity births was nine times the rate for singleton births.


  • The number of deaths from HIV infection declined by 25.9 percent from the previous year. For the first time since it became a separate, identifiable cause in 1988, HIV infection was not among the ten leading causes of deaths of residents of the state.

  • The age-adjusted death rate for males was more than 50 percent higher than for females and the rate for blacks was more than 50 percent higher than that of whites.

  • Deaths occurring at home and in nursing homes are rising. Inpatient and DOA deaths are on the decline.

  • Life expectancy for New Jersey residents born between 1996 and 1998 was 77.2 years.

  • Heart disease, cancer, and stroke remained the three leading causes of death and accounted for 63 percent of all deaths in 1998.

  • Cancer remained the leading cause of years of potential life lost (YPLL) before age 65, even though the age-adjusted death rate for cancer is decreasing.

  • Unintentional injuries were the leading cause of death of persons under age 44.

  • There were 704 deaths from drug-related causes, 424 from alcohol-related causes, and 374 from firearms in 1998.

  • The infant mortality rate was unchanged from the previous year.

  • The black non-Hispanic infant mortality rate remained almost three times as high as the rate for white non-Hispanic infants.

  • Infants who were part of a multiple birth, had low birth weight, were premature or whose mothers received no prenatal care, were under 20 years of age, were unmarried, or smoked during pregnancy were more likely to die within the first year of life.

  • Congenital anomalies was the leading cause of postneonatal infant deaths, followed by SIDS.

Marriage and Divorce

  • The median ages of brides and grooms marrying in 1998 were 29 and 31, respectively, for all marriages and 27.3 and 28.8, respectively, for first marriages.

  • The percent of brides and grooms under 20 and under 25 years of age continued to decline.

Communicable Diseases

  • The number of AIDS cases diagnosed in 1998 was the lowest since 1986.

  • The highest incidence rates of AIDS were among non-Hispanic black males and females.

  • Reported cases of syphilis decreased from the prior two years, while gonorrhea and chlamydia were virtually unchanged.

  • The number of reported cases of Lyme disease decreased for the second time since 1992.

Health Status

  • As of 1998, 58 percent of the health objectives based on vital statistics, communicable disease, and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data had been achieved or were on track to be achieved. However, the remaining 42 percent appeared unlikely to be achieved by 2000.

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