In Shelby County, there were a total of 14,109 live births in 2009, which is equivalent to
a birth rate of 15.5 per 1,000. The Caucasian birth rate is 12.0, while the African American birth
rate is 17.6 per 1,000 (Cooper, 2009). The mortality rate of Shelby County is 8.0 per 1,000
(Cooper, 2009). The Caucasian death rate is 8.8, while the African American death rate is 7.7
Diseases of the heart are the leading cause of death in Shelby County. Malignant
Neoplasm, also known as cancer, is the second leading cause of death in Shelby County. Cancer
is followed by cerebrovascular disease, accidents and adverse effects, and chronic lower
respiratory diseases (Community, 2009). Half of all deaths can be attributed to the following
three factors: tobacco use, diet and activity, and alcohol use. Tobacco use is the number one
leading cause of heart disease, cancers, respiratory disease and infant deaths. Diet/activity, or the
lack of, is the second leading cause of heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and infant deaths. Alcohol
use accounts for the third most common reason for heart disease, cancers, injuries, and infant
deaths (Community, 2009). Examples of the most common morbidities that are dealt with in
Shelby County are heart disease, diabetes, and high rates of hypertension (Community, 2009).
Nationally, Memphis has the second highest infant mortality rate, just behind Detroit
(Cooper, 2009). The zip code 38108, North Memphis, has the largest infant mortality rate in the
entire city of Memphis, at a rate of 12.3 per 1,000 (Cooper, 2009). In Shelby County, an infant
dies every 43 hours, which is equivalent to 15 deaths for every 1,000 births (Cooper, 2009).
These statistics confirm the 38108 zip code has a higher infant mortality rate than in some Third
World countries (Cooper, 2009). The North Memphis population struggles with poverty and
extremely high crime rates. In Shelby County, 61.9% of all live births are from an unmarried
mother (Cooper, 2009). One of the major issues in the 38108 zip code is teen pregnancy. Some
of these young mothers may not have the skills or financial stability to deliver or even raise
healthy children (Cooper, 2009). In 2008, 67,074 females between the ages of 10-19 gave birth.
Of the 67,074 who gave birth in 2009, 41,353 were from African American females (Cooper,
According to Memphis Crime Data, Memphis is safer than 2% of the other cities in the
United States (Neighborhood, 2009). Memphis’ violent crime rate is 1 in 64 people compared to
the entire United States at 1 in 126 people (Neighborhood, 2009). It is estimated that there are
216 crimes per square mile in the city of Memphis. Also in Memphis, 0.17 murders are reported
for every 1,000 people compared to the entire United States having a rate of 0.06 (Neighborhood,
2009). Not only are one’s chances of being a victim of a violent crime, such as robbery or rape,
doubled in Memphis, but also their chance of being murdered.
When comparing Healthy People 2020 to the statistics of 38108, diabetes, tobacco and
alcohol use, infant mortality rates, and crime statistics are far from reaching the goals set by
Healthy People 2020. Help must be implemented through education, screening and support
groups to help the community reach the goals of Healthy People 2020.
Community Health Status Indicators (2009). Community Health Status Indicators Report.
Retrieved from http://communityhealth.hhs.gov/homepage.aspx?j=1
Cooper, Susan R., (2009). Department of Health: Vital Statistics. Retrieved from
Neighborhood Scout (2009). Memphis Crime Rates. Retrieved from