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Brownsville Has the City's Highest Infant Mortality Rate

A new study reveals: Low birth weights and lack of health care coverage cause more babies to die in Brownsville than anywhere else in the city.
Infant mortality rate, BK Reader
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Babies are more likely to die before their first birthday in Brownsville than in any other New York City neighborhood, reports Patch. 

With an infant mortality rate of 5.4 out of 1,000, Brownsville babies under the age of one are three times as likely to die than those born in the Upper East Side, the NYC neighborhood with the lowest rate of infant deaths.

According to a report released by the Citizens' Committee for Children of New York on Tuesday, low birth weights and a lack of health care coverage cause Brownsville's high infant mortality rate. CCC's Community Risk Ranking revealed that 13.2 percent of Brownsville children are born weighing less than 2,500 grams, and 3.4 percent of the children are uninsured. 

"It's a reflection of Brownsville having the largest child population in the city and a homogeneous population that is primarily black," said CCC Executive Director Jennifer March. "There are historic disparities in treatment. It often has to do with access to prenatal care and post-prenatal support."

In its Community Risk Ranking report, CCC analyzes overall child well-being and combines data from across multiple dimensions including economic security, health, housing and education to provide a better understanding of where risks to children concentrate across NYC's communities.

The recent analysis also showed that Brownsville is among the three riskiest districts for students because of its struggle to provide quality educational programming.

According to the CCC data, only one in five Brownsville's elementary and middle school students passed the city's reading test in 2016, and only 16.3 percent passed the math test. Just 62 percent of kids are enrolled in early education programs, and the most recent high school graduation rate was just 39 percent. 

"The disparities illustrated in the Community Risking Ranking dramatically underscore how government must go farther to achieve lasting improvements," said March. "To tackle the challenges faced by families in Brownsville and all over New York, we have to engage them in problem identification and solution seeking on every level. Their voices should inform decision making on affordable housing, public land use, job creation, as well as the built environment and service in communities."


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