WA infant mortality rate below U.S. rate, disparities still remain

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Image courtesy DOH
Washington Department of Health

OLYMPIA – Washington ranks eighth in the nation for the lowest infant deaths, yet African-American and American Indian families still experience disproportionate rates of infant mortality.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics released its variations in infant mortality by race report on Thursday, January 10, 2018.

Between 2011-2015, African-American and American Indian / Alaska Native women in Washington experienced infant mortality rates twice the rate of those born to Caucasian mothers.
  • African-American infant mortality rate = 8.9 per 1,000 live births.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native infant mortality rate = 8.4 per 1,000 live births.
  • Caucasian infant mortality rate = 4.2 per 1,000 live births.

Environment and social factors, such as educational level, income level, housing safety, and employment can negatively influence infant mortality.

During 2011-2015, infant mortality rates varied across the state. For example, Stevens County had 3.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births as opposed to Clallam County that had 8.1. King and Snohomish had rates lower than the state rate of 4.8.

The leading cause of infant deaths in 2015 in Washington included congenital malformation, sudden unexpected infant death, short gestation and low birth weight.

For more information on infant mortality in Washington, visit the Infant Mortality Reduction Report.


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