Research Scientist

Infant Mortality

In the U.S., there are 8 child deaths per 1,000 live births.  Although the national under-5 mortality rate has fallen in recent decades, 40 countries performed better than the US in this category. Overall, America ranked 31st out of 172 countries evaluated for mothers' and children's health, educational and economic status, which influence infant mortality rates.  (Source: Save the Children, State of the World’s Mothers 2011)

The infant mortality rate has substantially declined from the 19th and 20th centuries, due largely to better maternal and child nutrition, improved sanitation, economic growth, and advances in infant care. A more recent advancement is the recommendation to put babies to sleep on their backs.

Statistics continue to show there is still a long way to go. The U.S. infant mortality rate from birth to just one year of age is 6.8 per 1,000 live births, or 29,138 infants in 2007.  In the same year, there were approximately 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in neonatal period, the first 28 days after birth. This represents 19,058 deaths, which are commonly attributable to short gestation, low birth weight, congenital malformations, as well as birth trauma and infection from the perinatal period.

In post-neonatal mortality, between 28 days to one year, 10,080 infants died in 2007, which is 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. These are often related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), congenital malformations, and unintentional injuries. (Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Resources, Child HealthUSA 2010)



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