Health Report Card: Black Infant Mortality Rate in State Remains High

Black infants in Colorado are more likely to die within their first year of life than infants in war-torn Syria, a data comparison shows.

The 2015 Colorado Health Report Card, an annual effort to chart Colorado’s progress on key health measures, reported that overall infant mortality improved slightly in Colorado to a rate around six per 1,000 births. That makes the state the 20th in the nation for infant mortality.

Grades from the Colorado Health Foundation issued its 2015 annual health report card.

Colorado Health Foundation

Grades from the Colorado Health Foundation issued its 2015 annual health report card.

But it’s a different story for black babies, who die at a rate of 13 per 1,000 births, according to data released today by the Colorado Health Foundation.

By comparison, infants in Syria died at a rate of 12 per 1,000 in 2013, according to separate data published by the World Bank. That was the same year that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad was widely censured for unleashing chemical agents on a suburb of Damascus, as civilian casualties from the brutal civil war mounted.

Overall, the health of adults in Colorado compares favorably to the rest of the nation, according to the new report card. Adult Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity and diabetes, and the highest levels of physical activity in the nation. We’re in the top half of the country when it comes to pregnant women getting timely prenatal care, and seniors reporting good physical and mental health.

But huge swaths of our population haven’t enjoyed the benefits of good health. Colorado ranks 41st among 50 states for the percentage of adolescents covered by private or public health insurance, and in the bottom half for children.

More than one in five children in Colorado live below the federal poverty line. Among Hispanics, the rate is much worse – about 38 percent of Latino children live in poverty. And nearly half of all black children in Colorado do.

If Colorado wants to reach its goal of the nation’s healthiest state, it is going to have to pay closer attention to its sickest – and poorest – communities.

The entire report card is available here.


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