|January 12, 2001||Infant Mortality Rates by County, 1997-1999|
STATE'S INFANT MORTALITY
SPRINGFIELD, IL During the past decade, Illinois' infant mortality rate dropped 22 percent, according to statistics released today by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
"The 1990s was a decade in which we can point with some pride to the progress we have made in the fight to save infants from dying," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Advances in public health and clinical medicine have helped us reach the lowest infant mortality rates ever recorded in Illinois.
"However, as we start a new century, we realize there is much work to be done. Too many babies are dying unnecessarily, especially African-American infants whose death rate is nearly three times higher than that of white children. That disparity remains one of our biggest challenges."
In 1999, one fewer infant died than the previous year, but the rate rose by one-tenth, to 8.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, because there were fewer births recorded in 1999 than in 1998. The 8.2 rate posted in both 1997 and 1998 was the lowest rate ever recorded in Illinois.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the state's infant mortality rate stood at 10.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, accounting for 2,090 deaths. Near the start of the 20th century, in 1907, the first year of the century with reported infant mortality statistics, nearly 12,000 babies died before their first birthday for a rate of 140 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The 1999 rate among African-American babies rose from 16.8 to 17.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the rate for white infants declined from 6.3 to 6.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. The 6.2 infant mortality rate for whites matches the 1997 rate for this segment of the population, which is the lowest ever recorded in the state.
Dr. Lumpkin said expectant mothers, particularly African-American women, must continue to be made aware of the importance of taking care of themselves and their unborn child through early and comprehensive prenatal care and proper nutrition.
"Women can help assure their babies are not born prematurely or too small by eating nutritional foods and by not smoking, drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs, and by working closely with their doctor or health care provider during pregnancy," Lumpkin said.
Dr. Lumpkin said babies born with low birth weight 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 number by the number of babies born in that same year, then multiplying by 1,000.
In 1999, 1,504 infants did not live to their first birth (nearly 70 percent died within the first 27 days of life). A total of 182,027 babies were born to Illinois women in 1999 compared with 182,503 in 1998.
Chicago's 1999 infant mortality rate was 11.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, up from 10.9 in 1998. The downstate infant mortality rate was 7.0, down from 7.2 in 1998.
The infant mortality rate went from 10.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 and 1991, to 10.0 in 1992, 9.6 in 1993, 9.0 in 1994, 9.3 in 1995, 8.4 in 1996, 8.2 in 1997 and 1998, and 8.3 in 1999.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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