Maternity & Childbirth Rates in Erie County

Maternity & Childbirth

Analysis Categories

What does this measure?

The rates of birth by age and select race/ethnicity, specific teen pregnancy rates, early prenatal care by age and select race/ethnicity, and rates of non-smoking among pregnant women by age and select race/ethnicity. Banded in 3 year increments since 2000 for Erie County.

Why is this important?

Pregnancy and birth rates are another indicator of a community's growth in human capital. Concerning teen pregnancy, it can derail a young woman's life, preventing her from furthering her education or growing up to be self-sufficient. Babies born to teen mothers are at higher risk of having a low birth weight and of infant mortality compared to babies born to older mothers. They are also at risk of lower cognitive development, poor educational outcomes and living in poverty. Smoking during pregnancy can cause premature births or low birth weight, which presents an increased risk for illness and prolonged medical treatment. Smoking during pregnancy also is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome. Early, high-quality prenatal care is critical to reducing risks for complications of pregnancy or birth and improving birth outcomes.

How is Erie County doing?

Birth rates show a natural bell curve among women from teenage to 45+ in Erie county. Specifically looking at non-smoking mothers during pregnancy, Multi-Race women are less likely to be non-smokers at a rate of 77% compared to Asian (99%), Black (83%), Hispanic (88%), and White (82%) mothers. Early prenatal care rates are highest among White women (82%), and for all women highest in age category 30 to 34 years old. Overall early prenatal care is higher among age groups before 35 years old (75%) than age groups older than 35 (70%).

Low birthweight in babies has experienced a small drop from a peak 9.0% in the years 2009-2011to 8.4% for the latest data years (2015-2017) but has steadily risen and remained higher than the 2000-2002 low of 7.4%. For the latest data years (2015-2017) the rate of low birthweight babies is over double for people of color, at 13.4% compared to 7.5% for white. 

Concerning infant mortality, the rates have consistently dropped since data years 2000-2002, but rates per race continue year-over-year to show a significantly higher rate for the black population as compared to white. On average, black infant mortality occurs at over twice the average for white infant mortality in Erie County, and higher than the PA state average. This trend occurs for both neonatal and postneonatal infants for all years under analysis.

How does Erie compare to its Peers?

About this Data

Data from the PA Department of Health as of 2018.