2016 summary found infant mortality in New York City was 4.1 per 1,000 live births, a 24 percent decline from 2007
The mortality rate for Black infants was three times higher than it was for White infants
The de Blasio Administration has invested in maternal and infant health with expanded maternal depression screenings at hospitals; Safe Sleep campaigns with the Administration for Children’s Services; and Family Wellness suites in Neighborhood Health Action Centers
April 20, 2018 — The Health Department today released the 2016 Infant Mortality Summary of Vital Statistics, which found that infant mortality has dropped to a historic low in New York City, though disparities between race and ethnic groups persist. The report provides an overview of deaths among infants younger than 12 months. Infant mortality was 4.1 per 1,000 live births, a 24 percent decline from 2007. Although the rate has declined for almost all race and ethnic groups, the mortality rate for Black infants remains three times higher than White infants. For Puerto Rican New Yorkers, the rate was 1.3 times higher, and for other Hispanics it was 1.5 times higher. The report also includes data by neighborhood — East Flatbush, Brooklyn; Pelham Parkway, Bronx; and Central Harlem had the highest rates of infant mortality, while Bay Ridge, Brooklyn had the lowest.
“While infant mortality rates have declined across all race and ethnic groups, large disparities still exist in our city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The root cause of these disparities is longstanding structural racism, which has contributed to poorer health outcomes among communities of color. The de Blasio Administration and the Health Department are committed to ensuring that New Yorkers, no matter their race, zip code or economic status, have healthy lives and healthy babies.”
“We are grateful to see citywide infant mortality rates continuing to improve, but the persistent racial disparities drive us to intensify efforts to close the gap,” said First Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “We all play a role in improving the lives of Black and brown women and their babies.”
“This new data is an urgent call to redouble our efforts to reduce infant deaths in communities of color,” said David A. Hansell, Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services. “We all have a responsibility to ensure that all families are safe and healthy, and we are working closely with our partners at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to advance our shared goal of reducing disparities in access to healthcare and information.”
“While it is critical that overall infant mortality rates in New York City are at their lowest point in recent memory, it is deeply disturbing that such disparities continue to exist,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “It is clear that we need to do a better job with education on infant care and provide more health resources to ensure that all parents, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, have the ability to raise their children. I thank the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for shining a light on this distressing issue and committing to reducing infant mortality rates in all our communities.”
"While it is encouraging that our overall infant mortality rate has decreased and is lower than the national rate, it is troubling that there continues to be a significant disparity among African-American and low-income communities,” said New York Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I will continue to work with the Department of Health to ensure communities like the one I represent receive the adequate resources to close the gap that currently exists in vulnerable communities and reduce the number of infant deaths throughout our City.
“Over the past decade New York has made great strides toward reducing the citywide infant mortality rate,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Health Committee. “However, I remain deeply concerned over the persistent racial disparities in this area. It’s unthinkable residents of Central Harlem are three times as likely to experience an infant death than residents in the Upper West Side. To truly address the issue of infant mortality in New York, we must continue to invest in programs like the Safe Sleep initiative, and increase the number of Neighborhood Health Action Centers in areas where they’re needed most.”
To promote maternal and infant health in New York City, the Health Department works with community partners and residents, especially in neighborhoods with the heaviest burden of negative health outcomes. The Center for Health Equity (CHE), through its Neighborhood Health Action Centers, provides health and social services, community programs and Family Wellness Suites – dedicated spaces for women to breastfeed, rest, exercise and strengthen their social support networks. In addition, the Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health, in partnership with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), launched the Safe Sleep initiative, which offers safe sleep education and portable cribs through its home visiting programs, community partners, and the Action Centers.
Infant mortality data highlights:
Infant mortality rates in New York City are also lower than the national rate. In 2016, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.9 per 1,000 live births, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Additional data can be found in the 2016 Infant Mortality Annual Summary (PDF).
City and Health Department programs that support healthy pregnancies and babies include:
The goal of OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City is to ensure that all New Yorkers live a long and healthy life. Premature mortality is closely tied to poverty, which, in New York City correlates with communities of color that have long undergone structural and historical oppression. Under the OneNYC plan, the City has committed to reducing the premature mortality rate by 25 percent by 2040 as well as infant mortality.
About the Center for Health Equity
The Center for Health Equity works toward a fair and healthy New York where all residents — regardless of their zip code — have the opportunity to lead their healthiest lives. As a division of the New York City Health Department, we strengthen our agency’s goal to eliminate health inequities, or unjust differences in health outcomes, for residents in neighborhoods impacted by racism and long-term disinvestment by organizations and institutions. The Center for Health Equity’s Neighborhood Health Action Centers offer coordinated health and social services, as well as community programs under one roof. They also provide hubs for people to become involved in efforts to improve the health of their neighborhoods. For more information on the Center for Health Equity, visit nyc.gov/health/CHE.
About Take Care New York
Take Care New York 2020 is the Health Department’s blueprint for a healthier life for everyone. With TCNY, the Health Department is working together with community residents and partners to identify their most important health priorities and to improve the health of their neighborhoods. For more information about Take Care New York 2020, visit nyc.gov/tcny2020.
MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Danielle De Souza, (347) 396-4177