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Deaths Occurring to Infants Under 1 year of Age

Progress: Travis County’s infant mortality rate has declined slightly over the last five years and has remained consistently below the state and national rates. In 2013, there were 3.8 deaths occurring to infants under 1 year of age per 1,000 live births

Significance of this indicator: According to the Texas State Department of State Health Services, “The infant mortality rate is a measure of the overall health of a community. High infant mortality rates may indicate poor maternal health, inadequate prenatal care, infant malnutrition and/or limited access to adequate health care.” Infant mortality provides an indicator not only of the health of children and youth, but of the health of the entire community.

What the Data Tell Us

Over the period shown, Travis County and the City of Austin consistently experienced a lower infant mortality rate than the state and nation as a whole. Since 2006, the infant mortality rate has declined slightly in local jurisdictions. In 2013, there were 3.8 deaths occurring to infants under 1 year of age per 1,000 live births in Travis County, down from 5.7 per 1,000 in 2009. In the same year, there were 4.3 deaths occurring to infants under 1 year of age per 1,000 live births in the city of Austin, down from 5.6 in 2009. Nationally, the Healthy People 2020 project has set a goal of 6.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births by 2020. Travis County has consistently had an infant mortality rate below this level.

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Definition: Deaths occurring to infants under 1 year of age per 1,000 live births

Data Source:  Texas Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics. National data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center

Data Considerations: Deaths are recorded here as the county of residence, rather than the county in which a death occurred. Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

The Story Behind the Indicator

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infant mortality serves as an overall indicator of the health of the population, as general public health factors often influence this indicator. The leading causes of infant mortality nationwide include: being born with a serious birth defect, being born too small and too early, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, maternal complications of pregnancy, and injuries. The Texas Department of State Health Services reports causes of infant mortality for the state as a whole in their Vital Statistics Annual Reports. Nationally, the Healthy People 2020 project has set a goal of 6.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births by 2020. Travis County has consistently had an infant mortality rate below this level, though disparities exist for different races and ethnicities. In 2013, 8.2% of Travis County infants were born at a low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams) and 26% of mothers received no prenatal care, or prenatal care beginning after their first trimester. The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department provides additional information on maternal and child health in their 2015 Critical Health Indicators report.

Some Local Efforts to Improve this Indicator

A Closer Look at the Story Behind the Indicators

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infant mortality by race and ethnicity, Texas

In the State of Texas, the infant mortality rate has been consistently higher for Blacks than for other races and ethnicities. In 2013, there were 11.9 deaths that occurred to Black infants under 1 year of age per 1,000 live births, compared to 5.2 per 1,000 for Hispanics, 5.0 per 1,000 for Whites, and 4.0 for infants of other races and ethnicities. According to Austin/Travis County Health and Human Service Department’s 2015 Critical Health Indicators report, this disparity exists locally as well, based on data from 2009 to 2011.

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Definition: Deaths occurring to infants under 1 year of age per 1,000 live births, by race and ethnicity, Texas

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Vital Statistics National data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center.

Data Considerations: Deaths are recorded here as the county of residence, rather than the county in which a death occurred. Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

low birth weight

According to research from the National Institutes of Health, infants born at a low birth weight are at risk of a number of poor health outcomes, including “subnormal growth, illnesses, and neurodevelopmental problems.” The percent of infants born at a low birth weight remained relatively constant from 2006 to 2013, though it appears to have increased slightly from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, 8.2% of infants born in Travis County weighed less than 2,500 grams. According to data from Healthy People 2020, infants born to mothers age 15 or younger are more likely than infants born to older mothers to have a low birth weight.

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Definition: Live births weighing less than 2,500 grams, as a percentage of all live births

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data National data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center.

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

low birth weight, by race and ethnicity, Travis County

Infants born to African-American mothers are more likely than infants born to mothers of other races and ethnicities to weigh less than 2,500 grams. In 2013, 16.2% of infants born to African-American mothers had a low birth weight, compared to 7.7% of infants born to White mothers, 7.4% of infants born to Hispanic mothers, and 10.2% of infants born to mothers of Other races and ethnicities.

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Definition: Live births weighing less than 2,500 grams, as a percentage live births, by race and ethnicity

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data. National data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center.

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

very low birth weight

According to Healthy People 2020, the infant death rate for very low birth weight infants was over 100 times as large as the rate for infants born over 2,500 grams. A relatively small number of infants are born weighing less than 1,500 grams, and the share of very low birth weight infants has remained relatively constant over time in Travis County, Texas, and the United States. In 2013, 1.6% of infants born in Travis County and 1.8% of infants born in Texas as a whole weighed less than 1,500 grams.

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Definition: Live births weighing less than 1,500 grams, as a percentage of all live births

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data. National data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center.

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

very low birth weight, by race and ethnicity, Travis County

Infants born to Black mothers in Travis County are more likely than infants of other races and ethnicities to weigh less than 1,500 grams at birth. In 2013, 4.6% of infants born to Black mothers had a very low birth weight, compared to 1.4% of infants born to Hispanic mothers, 1.3% of infants born to White mothers, and 1.6% of infants born to mothers of other races and ethnicities.

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Definition: Live births weighing less than 1,500 grams, as a percentage of live births, by race and ethnicity

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data. National data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center.

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

percent receiving prenatal care within the first trimester

To ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth, women should begin receiving prenatal care within the first trimester of their pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as cited by Children’s Optimal Health in their 2013 Birth Outcomes Study. Healthy People 2020 has set a national goal of 77.9% of pregnant women receiving prenatal care by the year 2020 (Goal MICH-10.1). As of 2013, both Travis County (74%) and the state of Texas (63.1%) fall short of this goal, although the percentage has risen since 2008 in Travis County.

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Definition: Percent of live births to mothers who began receiving prenatal care in the first trimester of their pregnancy

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

percent receiving prenatal care within the first trimester, Travis County, by race and ethnicity

Disparities in early use of prenatal care exist by race and ethnicity, although these disparities have decreased over time. In 2013, 87% of births to White mothers and 82% of births to mothers of other races were to women who had received prenatal care beginning within the first trimester of their pregnancy, compared to 69% of births to Black mothers and 61.8% of births to Hispanic mothers.

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Definition: Percent of live births to mothers who began receiving prenatal care in the first trimester of their pregnancy, by race and ethnicity

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

percent receiving no prenatal care

A small share of births were to women who received no prenatal care during their pregnancy. In Travis County, this share has decreased relatively steadily since 2006, while the share of Texas births to mothers who received no prenatal care appears to have increased from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, 1.9% of births were to mothers who had received no prenatal care, compared to 5.8% of births in Texas as a whole.

Click on this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information

Definition: Percent of live births to mothers who received no prenatal care during their pregnancy

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

percent receiving no prenatal care, Travis County, by race and ethnicity

In Travis County, Black and Hispanic mothers are slightly more likely than White mothers and mothers of other races to receive no prenatal care, although this disparity has decreased over time. In 2013, 2.7% of births to Black mothers and 2.4% of births to Hispanic mothers were to women who had received no prenatal care, compared to 1.3% of births to White mothers and 1.7% of births to mothers of other races and ethnicities.

Click on this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information

Definition: Percent of live births to mothers who received no prenatal care during their pregnancy, by race and ethnicity

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Health Data

Data Considerations: Due to the introduction of a new birth certificate, data from 2005 and later should not be compared with data from prior to 2005.

Additional Data