Infant Mortality In Louisiana

State of Louisiana, Apr 10, 2007

Of the 629 infant deaths to Louisiana residents, 254 (40.4%) occurred among whites, 370 (58.8%) among blacks, and 5 (0.8%) among other races. For all measures of infant mortality, black rates were approximately double those of whites. This racial difference in infant mortality rates has existed for many years at both the state and national level. Within races, infant mortality rates for males historically have been higher than those for females, With black males having the highest rates.  This year, however, infant mortality rates for black females exceeded those for black males.

Perinatal conditions, congenital anomalies, and sudden infant death syndrome historically have been the leading causes of death among Louisiana’s infants. 38% of all infant deaths (241 deaths) occurred within the first day of life, primarily from perinatal conditions and congenital anomalies. 35% of infant deaths (219 deaths) occurred between the 28th and 364th day of life, with the leading causes being sudden infant death syndrome, congenital anomalies, and perinatal conditions.

With the exception of 1994 and 1995, Louisiana’s black infant mortality rates consistently have been lower than the national rates for blacks. In 1996 and 1997 Louisiana’s black rates again fell below the national level. Louisiana and United States infant mortality rates among whites historically have been very similar to each other. Since the mid 1960s, infant mortality rates for both Louisiana and the United States have declined, due largely to advances in the development of antibiotics, infectious disease vaccines, and neonatology. Despite declining rates, Louisiana’s infant mortality rate of 9.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births remained higher than the national rate of 7.2.

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