U.S. Ranks 29th in Infant Mortality

WEDNESDAY Oct. 15, 2008 -- With nearly seven infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004, the United States ranked 29th in the world in infant mortality.

This compared to 27th in 2000, 23rd in 1990 and 12th in 1960.

That grim statistical picture is contained in a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2004, the latest year that data are available for all countries, infant death rates were generally lowest (below 3.5 per 1,000 births) in certain Scandinavian countries (Finland, Norway and Sweden) and East Asian countries (Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore). There were 22 countries with infant death rates below 5.0 per 1,000.

The U.S. infant death rate didn't decline from 2000 to 2005, but preliminary data for 2006 suggest a 2 percent decline between 2005 and 2006, the report said.

Among the other findings in the report:

  • The current U.S. infant death rate is about 50 percent higher than the national goal of 4.5 per 1,000 live births.
  • Increases in preterm birth and preterm-related deaths greatly contributed to the lack of decline in the U.S. infant death rate from 2000 to 2005.
  • In 2005, the infant death rate among non-Hispanic black women was 2.4 times higher than the rate among non-Hispanic white women -- 13.63 per 1,000 vs. 5.76 per 1,000. Infant death rates were also higher among Puerto Rican women (8.30 per 1,000) and American Indian women (8.06 per 1,000).

The findings, published in the Data Brief Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States, were based on statistics in the Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set and Preliminary Mortality Data File, collected through the National Vital Statistics System.

More information

The CDC has more about disparities in infant mortality.

Posted: October 2008


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