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Infant Mortality
Infant Mortality in United States
United States

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United States Value:

5.5

Number of infant deaths (before age 1) per 1,000 live births

Infant Mortality in depth:

Additional Measures:

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General Population

Infant Mortality by State

Number of infant deaths (before age 1) per 1,000 live births




Infant Mortality Trends

Number of infant deaths (before age 1) per 1,000 live births

Trend: Infant Mortality in United States, 2023 Health Of Women And Children Report

Number of infant deaths (before age 1) per 1,000 live births

United States
Source:

 CDC WONDER, Linked Birth/Infant Death Files

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About Infant Mortality

US Value: 5.5

Top State(s): Vermont: 3.1

Bottom State(s): Mississippi: 8.4

Definition: Number of infant deaths (before age 1) per 1,000 live births

Data Source and Years: CDC WONDER, Linked Birth/Infant Death Files, 2019-2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC WONDER, Linked Birth/Infant Death Files, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2023.

Losing an infant is devastating for parents, families and communities, and for the bereaved parents can result in an extreme and debilitating grief that affects daily activities and interpersonal relationships. Nearly 20,000 infants died in the United States in 2021. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of infant death were congenital abnormalities, low birth weight or preterm birth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is consistently and considerably worse than in other developed countries. Research indicates that racial/ethnic inequality in the U.S. is likely a primary contributor to this disparity.

Significant disparities persist in infant mortality among different racial/ethnic groups, with the most striking difference between babies born to non-Hispanic Black women and babies born to non-Hispanic white or Asian women. 

Other populations with higher rates of infant mortality include:

  • Women younger than 25 or older than 40, compared with those ages 25-40.
  • Those living in high-poverty counties compared with those in low- and middle-poverty counties.
  • Those living in rural counties compared with those in urban counties.

Considerable progress has been made in the U.S. over the past 50 years to reduce infant mortality rates; however, more needs to be done to eliminate disparities and ensure continued progress. It is important to implement a variety of strategies to reduce infant mortality. Key areas for prenatal and postnatal interventions include:

Healthy People 2030 has an objective to reduce infant mortality. It also has several related objectives, including reducing preterm births, increasing the proportion of women who have a healthy weight before pregnancy and increasing the proportion of women who receive early and adequate prenatal care.

Bekkering, Holly J., and Roberta L. Woodgate. “The Parental Experience of Unexpectedly Losing a Child in the Pediatric Emergency Department.” OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying, September 23, 2019, 0030222819876477. https://doi.org/10.1177/0030222819876477.

Ely, Danielle M., and Anne K. Driscoll. “Infant Mortality in the United States, 2020: Data From the Period Linked Birth/Infant Death File.” National Vital Statistics Reports 71, no. 5 (September 29, 2022). https://doi.org/10.15620/cdc:120700.

Gunja, Munira Z., Evan D. Gumas, and Reginald D. Williams II. “U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, 2022: Accelerating Spending, Worsening Outcomes.” Issue Brief. The Commonwealth Fund, January 2023. https://doi.org/10.26099/8ejy-yc74.

Komro, Kelli A., Melvin D. Livingston, Sara Markowitz, and Alexander C. Wagenaar. “The Effect of an Increased Minimum Wage on Infant Mortality and Birth Weight.” American Journal of Public Health 106, no. 8 (August 2016): 1514–16. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303268.

Lorenz, J. M., C. V. Ananth, R. A. Polin, and M. E. D’Alton. “Infant Mortality in the United States.” Journal of Perinatology 36, no. 10 (October 2016): 797–801. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2016.63.

Mohamoud, Yousra A., Russell S. Kirby, and Deborah B. Ehrenthal. “Poverty, Urban-Rural Classification and Term Infant Mortality: A Population-Based Multilevel Analysis.” BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 19, no. 1 (December 2019): 40. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2190-1.

Moon, Rachel Y., Rebecca F. Carlin, and Ivan Hand. “Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment.” Pediatrics 150, no. 1 (July 1, 2022): e2022057990. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2022-057990.

Singh, Gopal K., and Stella M. Yu. “Infant Mortality in the United States, 1915-2017: Large Social Inequalities Have Persisted for Over a Century.” International Journal of MCH and AIDS (IJMA) 8, no. 1 (March 20, 2019): 19–31. https://doi.org/10.21106/ijma.271.

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