Reconsidering Infant Age at Death in Mortality Research
Jessica C. Bishop, Florida State University
One way that the effects of the changing context in health care are evident is in the changing distribution of age at infant death. Traditional classifications of perinatal, neonatal and postneonatal infant mortality are problematic because they mask some of the overall improvements in infant health and survival that have occurred in the latter part of the 20th century, such as improving the odds of survival to older ages for very premature infants. These changes have resulted in a transformation in the socio-demographic profiles of risk at various ages of death. Using vital registration data from Florida, I suggest a modification to the traditional classification of age at infant death in a way that acknowledges that ages at death are associated with etiologies that have been affected by the changing context of health care in the United States.