What does this measure?
The number of deaths per 1,000 live births per year for infants under the age of one year, averaged over five years by race and ethnicity.
Why is this important?
Infant mortality is considered an indicator of maternal health and the overall health of a community. It is also a marker of the availability and use of quality health care for pregnant women and infants.
How is the region doing?
In 2012-18 there were racial and ethnic disparities in each of the region's counties as well as at the state and nation. Infants of African American mothers in the region's counties had the highest infant mortality rate at 2 to 3 times higher than white mothers. Worcester County's infant mortality rates was the highest of all the counties in the region for each group. Middlesex and Norfolk's rates were inline or slightly better than Massachusetts rates, and below the national average for all groups.
Middlesex is similar to the state, except its rates are lower for white and Hispanic mothers at 2.6 per 1,000 live births. Norfolk has a higher rate than the state for African American infants (8.9) and lower for white infants (2.8).
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 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 the expectant mother's color and access to comprehensive health care including gynecological services before pregnancy also contribute to premature infant death.
Notes about the data
Data not available for all race and ethnicity groups where the counts were too small to provide reliable rates.
|Asian||Black or African American||Hispanic||White|
Notes: Rates per 1,000 births. Data not presented for all racial/ethnic groups where the counts were too small to provide reliable rates.
All Racial Equity Indicators
- All Children and Families Indicators
- All Community Life Indicators
- All Demographics and Diversity Indicators
- All Economy and Workforce Indicators
- All Education Indicators
- All Financial Security Indicators
- All Racial Equity Indicators