- Number of infant deaths (before age 1) per 1,000 live births.
Infant Mortality is the number of infant deaths that occur before age 1 per 1,000 live births. The 2015 ranks are based on a 2-year average using 2012 and 2013 data from the National Center for Health Statistics National Vital Statistics System.
Infant mortality varies greatly among states, from 4.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in Massachusetts to 9.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in Mississippi. Nationally, the infant mortality rate is 6.0 deaths per 1,000 live births, unchanged from 2014 Edition. Healthy People 2020’s leading health indicator is to reduce the rate of all infant deaths to 6.0 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Public Health Impact
Infant mortality is associated with many factors related to birth: maternal health, prenatal care, and access to quality health care. Congenital malformation is the leading cause of infant mortality followed by low birthweight and sudden infant death syndrome; together these account for 58% of infant mortality. Infant mortality is commonly used to compare health between countries because of its association with access to health care in the prenatal period and first year of life. The US’s overall infant mortality rate is consistently higher than that of other developed countries, and significant socio-demographic disparities persist., Socio-demographic factors and many health care system factors influence infant mortality. Improving access to and use of ongoing prenatal care as well as reducing maternal smoking and alcohol consumption is a key strategy toward decreasing infant mortality. The US Department of Health and Human Services has a fact sheet on preventing infant mortality.
Reducing the proportion of infant mortality is a Healthy People 2020 leading health indicator, with the goal of reducing infant mortality 10% in this decade.
 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.
 Matthews TJ, MacDorman MF. Infant mortality statistics from the 2010 period linked birth/infant death data set. National Vital Statistics Reports. 2013:62(8).
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infant mortality. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/infantmortality.htm. Updated August 12, 2014. Accessed July 15, 2015.
 MacDorman MF, 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.
 Gage TB, Fang F, O'Neill E, Dirienzo G. Maternal education, birth weight, and infant mortality in the United States. Demography. 2013;50(2):615-635.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidance for preventing birth defects. 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/prevention.html. Accessed July 10, 2014.