Infant Mortality is the number of infant deaths that occur before age 1 per 1,000 live births. The 2013 ranks are based on a 2-year average using 2008 and 2009 data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Infant mortality is associated with many factors surrounding birth, including but not limited to: maternal health, prenatal care, and access to quality healthcare. Congenital malformations are the leading cause of infant mortality followed closely by disorders related to preterm birth and low birthweight. Infant mortality is commonly used to compare health between different countries because of its association with access to health care in the prenatal period and first year of life. The nation’s overall infant mortality rate is consistently higher than other developed countries (see the International Comparisons tab on the main Rankings page), and significant racial and ethnic disparities exist. The demographics of the mother are important predictors of infant mortality, with minority women and low socioeconomic status women having the highest rates. In addition to the demographic factors, there are also many health care system factors that influence infant mortality. Improving access to and utilization of ongoing prenatal care is a key strategy towards decreasing infant mortality, as well as reducing the teen birth rate and maternal smoking. The US Department of Health and Human Services has a fact sheet on preventing infant mortality.
Infant mortality varies greatly among states, from 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in New Hampshire to 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in Mississippi. Nationally the infant mortality rate is 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. For the second consecutive year the infant mortality rate decreased, a7 percent reduction since the 2011 Edition.
One of Healthy People 2020’s maternal, infant, and child health leading health indicators is to reduce the rate of all infant deaths to 6.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. States with a lower number of births may experience more pronounced fluctuations in infant mortality rates compared to states with a higher number of births.
 Singh GK, Yu SM. Infant mortality in the United States: Trends, differentials, and projections, 1950 through 2010. Am J Public Health. 1995;85(7):957-964.
 Mathews TJ. Infant mortality statistics from the 2006 period linked birth/infant death data set. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2010;58(17):1.
 MacDorman MF, and Mathews TJ. Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States. Hyattsville, MD: US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics; 2008.