Perinatal Health Data

The 2022-2026 version of the PHSP establishes greater accountability by putting into place an evaluation plan with dozens of data indicators to track outcomes, including four overarching indicators. The PHSP Data and Evaluation Workgroup developed the evaluation plan over several months in 2021 with input from public health experts across the state. Baseline data were chosen for the most recent time period available at that time.

To highlight inequities in health outcomes due to interpersonal, institutional, and systemic racism, every effort has been made to provide data for racial and ethnic population groups for each of the indicators. Racial/ethnic categories are defined by the data source and are not consistent across the indicators. In addition, the State Center for Health Statistics has moved to improved race reporting with a new race classification methodology that includes multiple race selections, data indicators have been updated to these new classifications.

Overarching Indicator 1: Eliminate the Black/white disparity in infant mortality.

In 2019, North Carolina’s infant mortality rate remained at a historic low of 6.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, but that means that 810 infants (a figure equal to about 11 school buses of 72 students each) died before reaching their first birthday. While the state has experienced substantial declines in overall infant mortality over the last two decades, reprehensible racial disparities in infant mortality persist as non-Hispanic Black infants were 2.8 times likely to die than non-Hispanic white infants.

Overarching Indicator 2: Eliminate the Black/white disparity in Severe Maternal Morbidity rate per 10,000 deliveries.

Severe Maternal Morbidities (SMM) are unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to birthing individual's health. The source of these data are the NC Inpatient Hospital Discharge data files (excludes discharges from federal facilities and out-of-state hospitals). Cases in which blood transfusion was the only indicator of SMM are typically excluded, given that the number of units transfused is unknown in these data, and blood transfusion alone may not represent a "truly severe" event.

Overarching Indicator 3: Decrease the percentage of preterm births to 8.3% or less for all racial/ethnic groups.

Preterm birth occurs when a baby is born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed.

Overarching Indicator 4: Increase health insurance rates to 90% or above for all racial/ethnic groups.

Having health insurance increases a person's access to health care - including mental health, substance use services, and preconception health services - which can help a birthing persons begin pregnancy as healthy as possible.

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Last Modified: April 28, 2023