Women and Health
Leading Causes of Death
The incidents of breast cancer has fluctuated over the past few years without a notable increase or decline. Breast cancer mortality rates, however, do appear to have fallen since 2010. Discouragingly, the percent of women over 50 who have received a mammogram in the past 2 years declined sharply from 80% in 2014 to 65% in 2016. It is important also to note the sharp disparities in incident and mortality by race and ethnicity. Hispanic and Asian women in the County have a third less chance of an incident than White and Black or African American (non-Hispanic) women. But while Black and White women have nearly the same rates of incidences, Black or African American women have a notably higher rate of mortality (22.1 vs. 17.7 per 100,000). The age-adjusted mortality rates for female breast cancer are diverging from national and state rates and about 20% below national rates.
Rates for cervical cancer incidents also appear to be on the decline among County women, while the share of adult women who have received a Pap Test in the past three years has increased sharply to 94.4% by 2016. However, the data again shows sharp disparities by race and ethnicity, with Black or African American and Hispanic women being nearly twice as likely as White and Asian women to experience an incident.
The birth rate in Montgomery County has continued to decline, from 13.7 per 1,000 women in 2010 to 12.5 in 2016 -- slightly above the US and State average. Hispanic residents have nearly double the birth rate of White residents (18.3 vs. 9.3), with the rate for Black or African American women slightly above the average (14.5). Meanwhile, the birth rate among adolescents ("teen births") has fallen almost by half since 2010 (20.9 to 11.2), with a particularly sharp decline among Hispanic residents. The adolescent birth rate differs dramatically by race and ethnicity, with the rate for Hispanic residents being more than 18 times the rate of White residents, while Black or African American residents are 6 times more likely than White residents to have an adolescent birth. As a whole, the adolescent birth rate in Montgomery is nearly half the national average and two-thirds the State average.
Research reported in the New York Times shows that mothers in Montgomery County had their first child on average at the of 29.2 (3 years later than the national average of 26.3). Married mothers in Montgomery County have their first child at 30.9 on average (vs. 28.8 nationally), while mothers with college degrees have their first child at 31.6 on average (compared to 30.3 nationally).
Injuries, Drugs, Mental Health, and Suicide
Women in Montgomery County are far less likely than men to die of injuries (62% less likely) or to die of a drug-related event (58% less likely). Women are similarly less likely to die of suicide (63% less likely), but women are nearly 65% more likely to be hospitalized or more than twice as likely to visit the ER for incidences related to suicide attempts. Overall, the County shows significantly lower age-adjusted rates of suicide-related hospitalizations and ER visits compared to the State average.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
In August of 2018, the Montgomery County Public Health Officer declared a public health crisis due to rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, particularly for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea -- with rates reaching their highest levels in a decade. STIs can lead to long-term health consequences, including infertility. While these increases are in line with national and state trends, the increases in Montgomery County occurred at roughly twice the rate of the State's increase in 2017.