CDC Releases New Infant Mortality Data

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2008

Contact: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Communication (301) 458-4800

Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States. Data Brief Number 9. 8 pp.
PDF Version (1 MB)

The United States ranked 29th in the world in infant mortality in 2004, compared with 27th in 2000, 23rd in 1990 and 12th in 1960, according to a new report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.78 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004, the latest year that data are available for all countries. Infant mortality rates were generally lowest (below 3.5 per 1,000) in selected Scandinavian (Sweden, Norway, and Finland) and East Asian (Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore) countries. In 2004, 22 countries had infant mortality rates below 5.0.

The findings are published in a new Data Brief “Latest Trends in U.S. Infant Mortality.” The data are from the Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set and Preliminary Mortality Data File, collected through the National Vital Statistics System.

The report shows the U.S. infant mortality rate did not decline from 2000 to 2005. However, preliminary data for 2006 show a significant 2 percent decline between 2005 and 2006. Other findings include:

  • The current U.S. infant mortality rate is about 50 percent higher than the national goal of 4.5 infant deaths per 1,000 births.
  • The infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic black women was 2.4 times the rate for non-Hispanic white women. In 2005, the infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic black women was 13.63 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with a rate of 5.76 for non-Hispanic white women. Rates were also higher for Puerto Rican and American Indian or Alaska Native women, 8.30 and 8.06 respectively.
  • Increases in preterm birth and preterm-related infant mortality account for much of the lack of decline in the United States’ infant mortality rate from 2000 to 2005.