What does this measure?
The number of deaths among infants (under age 1) in various racial or ethnic groups, expressed as a rate per 1,000 live births and averaged over three years.
Why is this important?
Infant mortality reflects the overall health status of a population and indirectly is a measure of the effectiveness and availability of quality health care, particularly prenatal care.
How is Westchester County performing?
Infant mortality in Westchester County was highest among African Americans, with 5.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016-18, followed by Hispanics at 4.0 and Asians at 3.6 deaths per 1,000 live births . These rates are all higher than the rates for whites at 2 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Westchester County's rate among Hispanics is on par with the state and higher than Nassau, Putnam and Rockland counties, all at roughly 3 per 1,000. Its rate among African Americans is lower than the state and Nassau County rates of 8.6 and 7.4, respectively, but higher than Rockland County's rate of 3.6 per 1,000.
Why do these disparities exist?
Racial disparities in infant mortality emerge from systems that perpetuate structural racism. Higher death rates among infants of color are directly tied to maternal access to prenatal care throughout pregnancy and quality of care. Research has shown that mothers of color are less likely to receive prenatal care in part because they tend to live in communities with fewer health care providers including neonatal services. While women of color from under-resourced communities gain access to health care via Medicaid, they are often underinsured. Discriminatory treatment by health care providers influences whether the health care needs of women of color are adequately addressed, putting mothers and their infants at higher risk of mortality. The racism experienced by expectant mothers of color in their everyday lives at work and in their neighborhoods (e.g. food insecurity, environmental toxins) place mothers and their infants at higher risk of premature death. The overall health of expectant mothers of color and access to comprehensive health care, including gynecological services before pregnancy, also contributes to premature infant death.
Notes about the data
Rates are averaged over 3 years because some geographies or groups have small numbers, making it difficult to distinguish true changes from random fluctuations. Some data for Putnam County is not shown because the numbers are so low that the rate is considered unstable and not reported.
|Asian or Pacific Islander||Black||Hispanic||White||Total|
|New York State||2.2||8.6||3.8||3.4||4.4|
Notes: Rates per 1,000 live births
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