Health officials say the infant mortality rate is the lowest the city has seen in seven years, with a baby boom among Asians accounting for half of nearly 3,500 births last year.
Officials say the three main causes of infant death remain the same. Birth defects are the number one cause, followed by babies born prematurely with low birth weight. Babies born with heart disorders rounded out the list.
Health department officials also found the highest rate of infant death among minority babies. The infant death rater per 1,000 births breaks down as follows:
Puerto Rican: 6.3
Other Hispanics: 4.3
Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.1
“As good as this news is, we continue to see unacceptable racial disparities, with black babies two and a half times more likely to die in the first year of life as white babies and Puerto Rican babies one and a half more times more likely to die,” said Deborah Kaplan of the Department of Health.
Officials say stress and socioeconomic status can affect a mother's pregnancy and therefore the baby's health. Expectant mothers who take care of their health before and during pregnancy can increase the chances of having a healthy baby.