Local News

N.C. infant mortality rate up

Posted September 4, 2008

Baby Medical
Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— More babies were born to North Carolina residents last year than ever before, but the infant mortality rate increased as well, state officials said Thursday.

The state reported 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2007, a 5 percent increase over the 2006 rate of 8.1, which was the lowest rate in North Carolina history.

Racial disparities in infant mortality continued, with the minority rate is still more than double the white rate, officials said. The minority infant mortality rate was 13.9 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2007, while the white infant mortality rate was 6.3 percent. In 2006, the minority rate was 13.6 percent – an all-time low – while the white rate was 6 percent.

“Many women of childbearing age in North Carolina are entering pregnancy with risk factors that affect their health as well as the health of their baby,” State Health Director Leah Devlin said in a statement.

A quarter of women in that age group are obese, and a quarter use tobacco, Devlin said. Others are affected by high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health issues, or misuse of alcohol or drugs, she said.

“African American women in North Carolina are disproportionately affected by poor health, lack of health insurance and high rates of poverty,” she said.

“Unfortunately, one out of four of women of childbearing age in North Carolina does not have health insurance, making access to health care difficult at this important time in their lives,” Devlin said. “Without continued care, women who have chronic health problems may not be able to stay healthy. That’s not good for their babies, either, and can put their future pregnancies at risk."

Infant mortality rates have improved dramatically over the past 30 years in North Carolina, declining 48.8 percent since 1978. North Carolina still has one of the nation’s higher infant mortality rates – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked the state 44th nationally, based on 2004-05 data.

In 2007, prematurity and low birth weight accounted for 18.6 percent of deaths of infants under 1 year old. Birth defects were the cause of 18.2 percent of the deaths, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome accounted for 8.9 percent. Other causes of death included respiratory problems and other medical conditions, diseases, infections and accidents. Homicide or assault were blamed for 1.1 percent of the deaths.

Of the 130,886 live births last year, 55.3 percent were white, 23.4 percent were black, 16.9 percent were Hispanic, 1.3 percent were Native American and 3.1 percent were among other races or ethnicities.

9 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • bs101fly Sep 4, 2008

    "If you can't afford health care while you are pregnant, how are you going to be able to afford to raise a child?"

    we'll just move them all into the Palin VP mansion and she'll handle it!!!

  • haggis basher Sep 4, 2008

    Its obvious God feels the need to test the faith of more folks now than previously.....go figure.

  • yg58 Sep 4, 2008

    If you can't afford health care while you are pregnant, how are you going to be able to afford to raise a child?

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 4, 2008

    "...the cultural, economic, educational, and political experiences for Asians in America are quite different from those of other groups..."

    Yes, yes they are. In fact, in some of these categories they had to overcome even greater hardship than the other groups. Yet, still, none of these differences were induced by racism. Nice try, though.


    "Maybe if more white people spent less time...then maybe white people could become a bigger part of the solution." -anneonymousone

    Another white woman for justice? Perhaps another guilt-riddled white woman. In your paragraph I still see nothing but blame for white people for the problems afflicting others: the same old, tired fallacy of White Privilege.

  • Tired Of Excuses Sep 4, 2008

    I'm not at all surprised by this and until NC gets serious about educating the public on nutrition, ESPECIALLY young women this is only going to get worse. I am truly shocked at the number of obese young pregnant women who are hypertensive and struggling with diabetes and other complications related to their weight and even more surprised at the number of women who don't get prenatal care. If NC wants the numbers to change then young women need to be educated on nutrition and the importance of prenatal care before they get pregnant. Yes, folks, young unwed women are having babies at an alarming rate and the vast majority are obese. They need to be educated.

  • anneonymousone Sep 4, 2008

    Harrison Bergeron (I hear Vonnegut sighing), the cultural, economic, educational, and political experiences for Asians in America (on average) are quite different from those of other groups, as are the conditions that surround their immigration.

    Maybe if more white people spent less time feeling attacked and more time recognizing how racism limits us all, maybe if more white people realized that racism is the problem and that not all white people are racists nor are all people who subscribe to racist ideas white, maybe if more white people realized that there are privileges given to most white people that many do not recognize, then maybe white people could become a bigger part of the solution.

    ---another white woman for justice

  • innocent bystander Sep 4, 2008

    fitc is right; those figs should be 6.3 per 1000 live births and 13.6 per 1000 live births, respectively.

  • face-in-the-crowd Sep 4, 2008

    "The minority infant mortality rate was 13.9 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2007, while the white infant mortality rate was 6.3 percent. In 2006, the minority rate was 13.6 percent – an all-time low – while the white rate was 6 percent."

    Someone needs to go back to math class - if the white infant mortality rate was 6.3 percent, it would be 63 out of every 1,000 births, which would dwarf the minority group. Also, saying the minority infant mortality rate in 2006 was 13.6 (an all time LOW!) is just absurd; surely they mean 1.36 percent.

    Author - please check your math!!! 1 out of 1,000 is 0.1%, not 1%.

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 4, 2008

    Here we go again. Nice way to obfuscate the data...

    From the NC SCHS website:

    "It is likely that factors such as income, education, access to health care, stress, and racism are among the major causes of the poorer health of minorities on many health measures, compared to whites."

    What this article and its included web link don't show is something that must be gleaned from further investigation:

    http://www.schs.state.nc.us/SCHS/pdf/NCPopHealthDatabyRaceEth01292008.pdf

    This shows that infant mortality rate for a certain other race is actually LOWER than it is for whites. Gee? How can that be possible? Time and time again, those wily Asians are somehow immune to Evil White Racism™ that seems to cause all the problems for blacks and Latinos...

    Perhaps the NC SCHS needs to add another factor to its list?