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The Epidemiology of Infant Mortality in the Greater Newark, New Jersey Area: A New Look at an Old Problem

Journal title
Journal of the National Medical Association
Publication year
Roche, N. E.; Abdul-Hakeem, F.; Davidow, A. L.; Thomas, P.; Kruse, L.

REVIEW: This research had institutional review board approval from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. IRB #0120110286 BACKGROUND: The death rate during the first year of life, or infant mortality rate (IMR), is a key indicator of a nation’s health. Many factors affect IMR in the United States, including race and ethnicity. The 2020 U.S. Healthy People IMR target goal has been revised to 6.0 deaths per 1,000 births. In 2006, the IMR in New Jersey was 5.5 deaths per 1,000 births, ranging from 4.4 for Caucasians, to 11.5 for African Americans. OBJECTIVE: This study is designed to determine whether IMRs vary by zip code in the greater Newark region and identify maternal/infant characteristics associated with elevated IMRs. METHODS: A descriptive study was conducted using New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) birth certificate data and U.S. Census data by zip code in the greater Newark area. IMRs were analyzed by zip code and by characteristics of mothers and infants. RESULTS: IMRs vary by zip code of residence. The lowest and highest IMRs were in zip codes 07105 and 07102, respectively, both located within the city of Newark. Maternal characteristics associated with high IMR, in multivariable analysis, include: lack of prenatal care, single marital status, and non-Hispanic black race. Demographic characteristics associated with high IMRs were: low mean household income and a large percentage of the population living below poverty level. CONCLUSIONS: Race/ethnicity, marital status, and zip code of residence show significant impact upon infant mortality. Poverty and race/ethnicity are associated with increased IMRs and track to ZIP code.

Research abstracts