Welcome to the State of California 

Too Young To Die

Principal Investigator

Erin McCormick, Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle


Objective: The San Francisco Chronicle explored the causes and possible solutions to infant mortality. They examined infant mortality in California communities, counties, and zip codes.

Methods: In looking at the California zip codes with the highest infant mortality rates, the writers used a methodology to avoid the statistical flukes that can be caused by annual fluctuations when looking at a very small number of cases. Sparsely populated zip codes, which had fewer than 1,000 births in the analysis period, were excluded from the analysis. The analysis did not include fetal deaths.

Results: After identifying the worst areas for infant death, Chronicle reporters went into the communities to talk to parents, health officials and researchers about what they saw as the reasons behind the tragedies. A five-part series of articles was published in October 2004. All the areas written about in this series had rates that were significantly higher than the state average. As part of the series of articles, the San Francisco Chronicle created a query system where readers can enter a California zip code or county to look up statistics on births and infant deaths for that area.

Web Link


Data Files Used

Birth Cohort Files (1992-1997, 1999-2000)


geographic information systems • infant mortality

Last modified on: 2/6/2008 1:36 PM