More interesting information from Vital Statistics– this time about babies and births in Arizona. The number of births each year in AZ has been on a downward trend for the last couple of years, and 2009 was no exception. There were a lot fewer babies born in 2009 (92,616) than in 2007 (102,687)- which is an overall drop of 10% over 2 years. There was a 16% drop in birth numbers of Hispanics or Latinos in 2009. We don’t know for sure, but that may be because there are fewer Hispanics or Latinos in the state. Hispanics faced the economic recession in 2008-2009, like everyone else, but also additional legal challenges such as the employer-sanction law (a penalty on employers hiring illegal immigrants), and e-verify (checking the legal-residence status of those seeking employment).
One good drop in numbers for babies is the infant mortality rate . Arizona’s infant mortality rate decreased by 22% between 2007 and 2009. It’s still tragic that 547 infants died before reaching their first birthday, but the 2007 rate of 6 deaths per 1,000 births is the lowest in the State’s history. Birth weight is one of the most important predictors of an infant’s survival chances (Figure 2C-3) <http://www.azdhs.gov/plan/report/ahs/ahs2009/pdf/text_infants.pdf> . Together, births of infants weighing less than 1 Kilogram accounted for 0.6% of births but 44%- a sobering statistic. Infants weighing less than 500 grams had a very high mortality rate (93%). Clearly birth weight is a critical factor for reducing our mortality rate moving forward. More about that in a future update.