Infant mortality by risk factor and race/ethnicity

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Why This Indicator Matters

The infant mortality rate is an important indicator of the overall well-being of a society. Infant mortality is related to the underlying health of the mother, public health practices, socioeconomic conditions and availability and use of appropriate health care for infants and pregnant women. The primary causes of infant mortality are birth defects, disorders related to short gestation/low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and issues related to pregnancy and birth, including substance abuse. Since mothers and infants are among the most vulnerable members of society, infant mortality is a measure of a society's concern and investment in supporting community health. In addition, disparities in infant mortality by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status are an important measure of the inequalities that exist within society. Proper prenatal care and well-baby preventive care offer opportunities to identify and lower some risk factors for infant mortality.
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Definitions:

Infant mortality = deaths occurring in the first year of life
Rate per 1,000 live births

Data Source: Delaware Health Statistics Center

Footnotes: Rates based on fewer than 20 deaths during a given time period are suppressed as they do not meet the standard of reliability or precision as defined by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Some Delaware indicators are presented as three- or five- year averages because rates based on small numbers of events in this modestly-populated state can vary dramatically from year to year. A three- or five- year average is less susceptible to distortion. In these cases, it is helpful to look at trends rather than at actual numbers, rates or percentages due to the small numbers.