Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rural infant mortality rose 5% in 2014-15

New statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that infant mortality rose 5 percent in rural areas from 2014 to 2015, and the rural infant-mortality rate was 25 percent higher than it was in large urban areas. Infant mortality has long been higher in rural areas, especially for black infants, but these new figures show an across the board increase in mortality for all rural infants.
Overall infant mortality decreased from 2007 to 2015, but rural areas are still worse off
than other areas. (CDC chart; click on it to enlarge)
The figures are alarming, but must be considered in context. Infant mortality as a whole dropped in all areas from 2007 to 2015 and is low overall. So that means any increase in infant mortality can move the statistical needle a lot. In raw numbers, rural areas went from 6.55 deaths per 1,000 births in 2014 to 6.8 deaths per 1,000 births in 2015. In urban areas the rate stayed about the same at 5.4 deaths per 1,000 births in both years. Comparatively, the death rates from 2007 were 7.5 deaths per thousand in rural areas and 7.1 per thousand in urban areas.
CDC chart; click on it to enlarge.
Lack of access to adequate health care is the most likely reason for the discrepancy between urban and rural infant mortality; the fact that more and more rural hospitals are closing their doors, and over half of all rural hospitals lack obstetric units could be reasons for increased rural infant mortality from 2014 to 2015. Women who have difficult deliveries can't get to a well-equipped hospital in time to help save the baby, and women who have a hard time accessing general health care may not receive adequate prenatal care.

No comments: