Indiana earned a “C” on the 2015 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, which for the first time graded the state’s cities and revealed persistent disparities among communities and among racial and ethnic groups.
Indiana’s preterm birth rate was 9.7 percent in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The rate was worse than the new March of Dimes 2020 goal of 8.1 percent. But there are communities within Indiana that are trailing behind the state’s rate. Indianapolis, Gary, Evansville and Fort Wayne all had preterm birth rates that were worse than the statewide rate. South Bend had a preterm birth rate that was only slightly better than the statewide rate at 9.2 percent.
Indiana ranked 41 on the disparity index with a score of 33 to indicate the gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate.
Idaho, Oregon, Vermont and Washington each earned an “A,” 19 states received a “B,” 18 states and the District of Columbia got a “C,” six others a “D,” and Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico each received an “F.” The U.S. preterm birth rate ranks among the worst of high-resource countries, the March of Dimes says. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and nearly one million die due to an early birth or its complications.