Massachusetts has high perinatal disparities based on race despite relatively low overall incidences of low birth weight (LBW; <2500 grams), preterm birth (PTB; < 37 weeks) and infant and maternal mortality. In Massachusetts in 2013, black women were 2.2 times more likely than white women to have a VLBW infant and 1.6 times more likely to have an LBW infant. They were also 3.3 times more likely to have an infant born at less than 28 weeks gestation and 1.3 times more likely to deliver an infant at less than 37 weeks gestational age.
In 2009-2010, a total of 685 Massachusetts infants less than one year of age died. The 2009-2010 average annual infant mortality rate was 4.7 per 1,000 infants, compared with 6.4 among U.S. infants. Although, during 2009-2010, MA had the lowest infant mortality rate in the nation, disparities by race/ethnicity and city/town of residence including by zip code within cities persist. The Black non-Hispanic infant mortality rate (7.9 deaths per 1,000 live births) was twice the White non-Hispanic and Asian non-Hispanic rates (both 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births). The Hispanic infant mortality rate (6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births) was more than 1.5 times greater than the White non-Hispanic and Asian non-Hispanic rates.