New CDC Report Analyzes Patterns of Infant Mortality in 2000

For Release: August 28, 2002

Contact: NCHS/CDC Public Affairs, (301) 458-4800


Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2000 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. NVSR Volume 50, No. 12. 27 pp. (PHS) 2002-1120. [PDF – 1.4 MB]

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that the 2000 infant mortality rates ranged from 3.5 per 1,000 live births for Chinese mothers to 13.5 for black mothers. Infant mortality rates were higher for infants whose mothers had no prenatal care, were teenagers, had less education, were unmarried or smoked during pregnancy.

The report also documented other significant variations in infant mortality rates. Rates were higher for male infants, multiple births, and infants born preterm or at low birthweight.

Overall the 2000 infant mortality rate was 6.9 per 1,000 live births, similar to the rate in 1999 (7.0) but down 22 percent from the rate of 8.9 at the beginning of the decade.

“Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2000 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set” presents detailed data on infant mortality rates by race and ethnicity, leading causes of death, infant characteristics such as birthweight, and maternal factors such as receipt of prenatal care. The report is based on information from the death certificate linked to the corresponding birth certificate for each infant under 1 year of age who died in 2000, in order to conduct more detailed analyses of infant mortality patterns and provide better information for prevention, research, and medical care.

The report provides the most detailed analyses of infant mortality rates by race and ethnicity. The rate of 13.5 for infants of black mothers is more than four times higher than the group with the lowest rate, 3.5 for infants born to Chinese mothers. Rates were intermediate for infants of non-Hispanic white and Filipino mothers (both 5.7), but higher for Hawaiian (9.0) and American Indian mothers (8.3). Among Hispanic subgroups, rates ranged from a high of 8.2 for infants of Puerto Rican mothers to the lowest rate of 4.6 for Cuban as well as Central and South American mothers.

In part, reflecting the differences in population composition, infant mortality rates also varied greatly by State. Rates are generally higher for States in the South and lowest for States in the West and Northeast. Infant mortality rates among States ranged from10.3 for Mississippi to 5.0 for Massachusetts. Almost 28,000 infants died in the first year of life in 2000. The three leading causes of infant death were congenital malformations (21 percent of all infant deaths), disorders relating to short gestation and low birthweight (16 percent), and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (9 percent). SIDS rates declined by 7 percent from 1999 to 2000, continuing the rapid decline of the 1990s.

The infant mortality report by T.J. Mathews, Fay Menacker and Marian F.MacDorman is based on data from birth and death records filed and linked by State vital statistics offices and reported to CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics through the National Vital Statistics System. For more information on the system or to view and download a copy of the report check the NCHS Web site.