Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Tuesday, August 11, 1998

Release #386-98

Contact: Colleen Roche/Brenda Perez (212) 788-2958
Sandra Mullin (DOH) (212) 788-5290


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today announced that the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in New York City has reached an all time low, eclipsing the record set in 1996. New York City's Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) for 1997 was 7.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, representing a nine percent decrease from the 1996 IMR of 7.8, and a 30.4% decline since 1993 when the IMR was 10.2.

Joining the Mayor for the announcement at North General Hospital in Central Harlem were Neal L. Cohen, M.D., Commissioner of Health and Mental Health; Dr. Rosa Gil, Mayor's Special Advisor on Health Policy; Thomas Long, Senior Vice President, North General Hospital; and Dr. Gale Blakley, Paul Robeson Prenatal Program, North General Hospital.

"While there is no single reason for the decline in infant mortality, several programs administered by the Department of Health as well as health providers throughout the City certainly contribute to our ongoing success," said Mayor Giuliani. "Improved access to prenatal care, declining incidence of cocaine and other substance abuse by pregnant women, declining incidence of sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy, and advances in medicine that improve the chances for survival of the most at-risk babies are just some of the factors responsible for this historic drop.

"The declining rate of infant mortality is one way of measuring health progress for the City's children. In addition, more children are being vaccinated against diseases, there are fewer cases of lead poisoning among our children, and the number of teenage pregnancies has declined by 13 percent in the last two years," the Mayor concluded.

Health Commissioner Dr. Neal Cohen said, "I am very pleased to announce that, once again, there were fewer infant deaths than ever in our City last year. Infant mortality rates vary by neighborhood, but the overall trend in New York City is clear and compelling: infant mortality is going down significantly. It's especially gratifying to see that these declines are occurring for New Yorkers in many diverse neighborhoods."

Dr. Gil added, "Our City's IMR is lower than the most recently published national rate (preliminary 7.2 in 1996), and it continues New York City's great progress toward meeting the federal government's goal for the year 2000. Health care providers educating women about the importance of prenatal care can take great pride in this accomplishment."

New York City's infant mortality rate (IMR) for 1997 was 7.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. It is based on a total of 881 infants who died at less than one year of age, and a total of 123,313 live births in New York City.

In fifteen of the City's 30 health center districts, the Infant Mortality Rate fell more than ten percent. Some of the most significant improvements were made in neighborhoods where the Health Department has located community-based maternity health drop-in centers to provide intensive outreach to pregnant women:

The Health Department has a long history of leadership in its efforts to reduce infant mortality and improve infant health and the reproductive health of women. DOH Programs include:

Go to Press Releases | Giuliani Archives | Mayor's Office | Home Page
Contact Us | FAQs | Privacy Statement | Site Map