|January 6, 2000||Infant Mortality Rates by County, 1996-1998|
INFANT MORTALITY RATE REMAINS AT ALL-TIME LOW
SPRINGFIELD, IL Illinois infant mortality rate in 1998 remained unchanged from the previous year when the state reached an all-time low, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported today.
As we begin a new century, we can look back with optimism to the strides we have made in reducing the number of infant deaths in our state, said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. However, despite these significant gains, there are still too many babies dying unnecessarily. We must continue to work to enhance the delivery of early and regular prenatal and infant care, particularly for those women and families at the greatest risk.
The states rate of 8.2 deaths per 1,000 live births -- the same as recorded in 1997 -- reflects a 30 percent decline over the past decade from the 11.7 deaths per 1,000 live births recorded in 1989. In 1907, the first year in the 20th century with complete infant mortality statistics, 11,947 babies died before their first birthday for a rate of 140 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Dr. Lumpkin said the public health community needs to reach expectant mothers to stress the importance of taking care of themselves and their unborn babies by eating nutritional foods, and by not smoking, drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs.
By working with their doctor or health care provider during pregnancy, mothers can help reduce the number of children born prematurely and too small, Dr. Lumpkin said. These low birth weight babies are 40 times more likely to die during the first month of life and those who survive suffer chronic physical and learning disabilities up to three times more often than normal weight infants.
The infant mortality rate is figured annually by taking the number of children who die before they reach 12 months of age and dividing that by the number of babies born in that same year, then multiplying by 1,000.
In 1998, 1,505 infants did not live to their first birthday (nearly two-thirds died within the first 28 days of life); this was 29 more deaths than occurred in 1997. However, with the increase in births in 1998 to 182,503, the infant mortality rate stayed at 8.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The rate among African-American babies rose from 16.5 to 16.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the rate for white infants increased from 6.2 to 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Chicagos 1998 infant mortality rate was 10.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, up slightly from the all-time low of 10.7 reported in 1997. The downstate infant mortality rate was 7.2, the same as the 1997 rate.
Due to small numbers and to rounding to tenths, the rates for racial and geographic categories may not equate to the state rate.
The infant mortality rate has gone from 11.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1989 to 10.7 in 1990, 10.7 in 1991, 10.0 in 1992, 9.6 in 1993, 9.0 in 1994, 9.3 in 1995, 8.4 in 1996 and 8.2 in 1997 and 1998.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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