Central Harlem, Manhattan

Segregated communities of color throughout the US continue to have worse health outcomes. This is especially the case when it comes to infant and maternal mortality. 

Infant mortality is a basic measure of public health around the world. The infant mortality rate refers to the number of babies, out of 1,000, who die before their first birthday. In New York City, the difference between infant mortality rates in affluent and low-income neighborhoods is striking: 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in Central Harlem, compared to 0.8 just a few blocks away in the Upper East Side.

The maternal mortality rate refers to the number of women who die during or due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth per 100,000 live births.

The maternal mortality rate in New York City has declined as the national rate rose, but the gap between maternal mortality among White and Black communities is much wider than in the country as a whole. Black women are 8 times more likely than White women to die as a result of pregnancy. 


Similarly, in New York City, life threatening complications during pregnancy have increased in recent years. This is measured by the SMM - severe maternal morbidity. On average 231 out of every 10,000 women experience complications during childbirth. Women in Brownsville, Brooklyn experienced the highest rates of complications during delivery with dangers arising in 497 out of every 10,000 deliveries. In Manhattan, the highest SMM rates are in East Harlem where there are 251 complications per 10,000 births. The lowest SMM rate is in Greenwich Village and Soho where 114 out of every 10,000 women experience complications during delivery.

Infant Mortality Rate

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