IMAJ | volume
Journal 7, July 2004
Background: The infant mortality rate is a health status indicator.
Objectives: To analyze the differences in infant mortality rates between Jews and Arabs in Israel between 1975 and 2000.
Methods: Data were used from the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Mother, Child and Adolescent Health in the Ministry of Health.
Results: The IMR in 2000 was 8.6 per 1,000 live births in the Israeli Arab population as compared to 4.0 in the Jewish population. Between 1970 and 2000 the IMR decreased by 78% among Moslems, 82% among Druze, and 88% among Christians, as compared to 79% in the Jewish population. In 2000, in the Arab population, 40% of all infant deaths were caused by congenital malformations and 29% by prematurity, compared to 23% and 53%, respectively, in the Jewish population. Between 1970 and 2000 the rate of congenital malformations declined in both the Arab and Jewish populations. In the 1970s the rate was 1.4 times higher in the Arab community than in the Jewish community, and in 2000 it was 3.7 times higher.
Conclusion: As in the Jewish population, the IMR in the Arab community has decreased over the years, although it is still much higher than that in the Jewish community. Much remains to be done to reduce the incidence of congenital malformations among Arabs, since this is the main cause of the high IMR in this population.
IMR = infant mortality rate