In 2010, there were 499 stillbirths in Washington, according to the state Department of Health, a rate of 5.8 per thousand live births.
The same year, Yakima County reported 36 stillbirths, a slightly higher rate of 8.2 per thousand live births -- the highest in six years.
By comparison, Benton and Franklin counties had about half the numbers of stillbirths, with a total of 18 for the two counties in 2010 despite collectively having about 10,000 more people.
Despite the higher rate for Yakima County, health officials say the difference is not statistically significant.
Epidemiologist Cathy Wasserman explained that 95 percent "confidence intervals," the number that indicates the reliability of a statistic, overlap for the two rates. Essentially, that means the low-end estimate for the stillbirth rate in Yakima isn't too far from the high-end estimate for the statewide rate.
Local providers haven't identified any recent upward or downward trend in the county's stillbirth rate. Rather, they say, stillbirths seem to come in waves.
But looked at another way, Yakima's rate appears disproportionately high. For example, Yakima is the eighth largest county by population, but the fifth highest in the state for a five-year average of stillbirths.