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March 1, 1976

Neonatal Mortality

JAMA. 1976;235(9):944. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260350048034

As repeatedly noted in American Medical News from reports provided by the National Center for Health Statistics, infant mortality in the United States has declined dramatically during the past three decades. Although the factors contributing to the improvement are not disclosed by the cold, overall statistics, analysis by states or by census tracts within states has suggested that low socioeconomic status of mothers contributes substantially to infant mortality risk.

The latter fact gives special meaning to a report by Lee and co-workers1 of experience at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center (BMHC), an affiliated teaching hospital of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The hospital is representative of the kind of US municipal institution that draws its patients predominantly from a population of low socioeconomic class. For purposes of comparison, the authors analyzed neonatal mortality (birth through 28 days of life) during the years 1966 through 1973, with special attention to