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In 1998, there were 47 resident infant deaths for a rate of 7.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Preliminary U.S. white data for 1998 indicates a rate of 6.0 per 1,000. Comparisons are made to the U.S. white rate because 97.8 percent of the Vermont resident infant deaths were to whites in 1998. The Vermont infant mortality rate steadily declined from 24.0 in 1960 to the lowest rate of 5.8 per 1,000 live births in 1991. After an increase to 7.0 in 1992, the rate has fluctuated for the past several years.

Thirty-nine (83 percent) of the infant deaths occurred during the neonatal period, that is before the infant became 28 days old. The neonatal death rate was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, an increase over the 1997 rate of 4.2. The preliminary 1998 U.S. white neonatal death rate is 4.0. In 1980, the Vermont neonatal mortality rate was 6.2, 14.4 in 1970 and 18.6 in 1960.

The leading causes of infant mortality included congenital anomalies and extreme immaturity.

One of the most important risk factors in infant mortality is low birth weight. Of resident infants who died in 1998, 66.7 percent had a birth weight less than 2500 grams (5 pounds 8 ounces), while 6.6 percent of all resident births were low weight. The infant mortality rate for low weight births was 69.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. Age of mother is also related to infant mortality. From 1996 to 1998, the infant mortality rate for mothers 15 through 19 years of age was 10.2, for mothers age 20 through 24 the rate was 10.0, and for mothers 40 through 44 years the rate was 6.2. The two youngest maternal age groups also had the highest neonatal death rates at 7.2 for the 15-19 year olds and 7.7 for the 20-24 year olds.


Exchange of reports of fetal deaths and abortions among states is inconsistent. Therefore, statistics concerning these events reflect primarily occurrences within Vermont and may not necessarily reflect the true experience of Vermont residents.

There were 21 resident fetal deaths in 1998 for a rate of 3.2 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths, down from 4.2 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths in 1997. The U.S. white fetal death rate was 5.8 in 1997. Of the fetal deaths in Vermont, 67 percent weighed less than 2500 grams. From 1996 to 1998, the fetal death rates were highest in the youngest and oldest maternal age groups: 6.6 per 1,000 live births for women age 15 to 19, and 8.2 for women age 40 to 44.


The number of abortions in Vermont has been decreasing. There were 1,870 abortions performed in Vermont in 1998, and this number has dropped every year since 1989 when 3,313 abortions were performed. Vermont residents accounted for 1,513 or 80.9 percent of abortions that occurred in the state. This was a rate of 11.3 per 1,000 women age 15 through 44, down from 12.2 in 1997.

The abortion ratio is the number of resident abortions occurring in Vermont times 1,000, divided by the total resident live births. The abortion ratio for 1998 was 230.3 abortions per 1,000 live births, down from 246.3 in 1997. The abortion ratio for the U.S. white population was 202 in 1996. Comparisons are made to the U.S. white ratio because only 3.8 percent of Vermont resident abortions were to non-whites in 1998.

Women age 20 through 24 had the highest age-specific abortion rate, 28.0 per 1,000 women, followed by women age 15 to 19 at 15.4. First trimester abortions accounted for 98.1 percent of all Vermont abortions and 64.1 percent of all Vermont abortions were for pregnancies of less than 9 weeks duration. See Appendix B for the method used to compute the number of weeks of gestation.


The pregnancy rate is derived by adding live births, fetal deaths and abortions. Due to non-reporting of out-of-state abortions and fetal deaths, as well as non-reporting of fetal deaths prior to 20 weeks of gestation, these rates represent underestimates of the actual number of pregnancies. The extent of these underestimations may differ among counties since residents of some counties may be more likely to use out-of-state services.

In 1998, the pregnancy rate in Vermont was 60.3 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15 to 44, compared to 61.8 in 1997, 77.1 in 1990, and 84.2 in 1980. The pregnancy rate peaked at 127.6 in 1960 and has dropped fairly steadily ever since.

The 1998 teen pregnancy rate was 39.9 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15 to 19 years. This is down from 44.5 in 1997, and in general the teen pregnancy rate has been decreasing since 1991. In 1998, the highest pregnancy rate was seen in women 20 to 24 years of age at 113.6, followed by the 25 through 29 age group at 101.8. The lowest rate was for women age 35 to 44 at 23.0.


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