America's Health Rankings, United Health Foundation Logo

Neonatal Mortality
Neonatal Mortality in United States
United States

Explore national- and state-level data for hundreds of health, environmental and socioeconomic measures, including background information about each measure. Use features on this page to find measures; view subpopulations, trends and rankings; and download and share content.

How to use this page

United States Value:


Number of deaths during first 28 days of life (0-27 days) per 1,000 live births

Neonatal Mortality in depth:

Additional Measures:

Explore Population Data:

General Population

Neonatal Mortality by State

Number of deaths during first 28 days of life (0-27 days) per 1,000 live births

Neonatal Mortality Trends

Number of deaths during first 28 days of life (0-27 days) per 1,000 live births

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

Number of deaths during first 28 days of life (0-27 days) per 1,000 live births

United States

 CDC WONDER, Linked Birth/Infant Death Files

View All Populations

About Neonatal Mortality

US Value: 3.6

Top State(s): Vermont: 1.9

Bottom State(s): Mississippi: 5.0

Definition: Number of deaths during first 28 days of life (0-27 days) 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,, accessed 2023.

Infant mortality is a key indicator of a country’s population health and the effectiveness of its health care system. Deaths occurring between birth and 27 days (the neonatal period) account for nearly two-thirds of all infant deaths. Maternal health, prenatal and postnatal care and access to quality health care before, during and after birth influence the likelihood of infant death. The leading causes of neonatal mortality are:

  • Premature birth.
  • Low birth weight. 
  • Birth defects. 
  • Pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia or problems with the placenta or umbilical cord.
  • Infections.
  • Asphyxia, or not getting enough oxygen before or during birth.

Significant sociodemographic disparities persist in infant mortality, predominantly by race. The prevalence of infant mortality is higher among:

  • Babies born to non-Hispanic Black women compared with those born to non-Hispanic white women.
  • Babies born to women with obesity.
  • Babies born preterm or with intrapartum-related complications compared with babies born at full gestational age and those without intrapartum complications.

Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be born prematurely, with low birth weight and with birth defects, all of which are risk factors for neonatal mortality.

Key prenatal and postnatal strategies for reducing the risk of neonatal and infant mortality include:

  • Improving access to and use of prenatal care.
  • Increasing access to and use of home visits to address child care topics such as safe sleep, injury prevention and nutrition and breastfeeding, and offer pregnant women and new parents health services and support.
  • Participating in newborn screening programs, which can detect conditions not readily apparent to parents or health care professionals. 
  • Making healthy choices during pregnancy, such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption, marijuana and other drugs.
  • Increasing state minimum wages, which has been shown to be associated with reduced rates of low birth weight and infant mortality.

Reducing the infant mortality rate is a Healthy People 2030 objective.


Barfield, Wanda, Denise D’Angelo, Rachel Moon, Michael Lu, Betty Wong, and John Iskander. “CDC Grand Rounds: Public Health Approaches to Reducing U.S. Infant Mortality.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC Grand Rounds, 62, no. 31 (August 9, 2013): 625–28.

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).

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.

Meehan, Sean, Charles R. Beck, John Mair-Jenkins, Jo Leonardi-Bee, and Richard Puleston. “Maternal Obesity and Infant Mortality: A Meta-Analysis.” Pediatrics 133, no. 5 (May 1, 2014): 863–71.

Reidpath, D. D., and P. Allotey. “Infant Mortality Rate as an Indicator of Population Health.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 57, no. 5 (May 1, 2003): 344–46.

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.

Current Reports

America’s Health Rankings builds on the work of the United Health Foundation to draw attention to public health and better understand the health of various populations. Our platform provides relevant information that policymakers, public health officials, advocates and leaders can use to effect change in their communities.

We have developed detailed analyses on the health of key populations in the country, including women and children, seniors and those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, in addition to a deep dive into health disparities across the country.