Voices For Life

Voices for Life is an e-publication dedicated to informing and educating the public on pro-life and pro-family issues. We cover issues from conception until natural death, as well as all family life issues.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Infant Mortality in the U.S. Falls to Lowest Levels Ever

Jonathan Abbamonte
Population Research Institute

Infant mortality is on the decline in the United States, a recent report [1] from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals.

Over the past decade, infant mortality has dropped nationwide by 15%. While infant mortality in the U.S. stood at 6.86 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2005, by 2014, that rate had declined to 5.82 deaths per 1,000 births. The infant mortality rate (IMR) in the U.S. has decreased every year since 2007.

According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), [2] infant mortality declined significantly in 33 states. Colorado, South Carolina, and Connecticut made the greatest progress proportionally, each seeing infant mortality plummet by more than 20%. The District of Columbia, however, saw the most precipitous decline with infant mortality falling by 43%.

A steady decrease in the mortality rate from the three leading causes of infant death—congenital abnormalities, short gestation/low birthweight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)—helped, in part, to drive the trend. Out of the top five leading causes of infant mortality, the proportion of deaths due to SIDS declined most, proportionally, falling by 29% since 2005.[3]

Despite recent gains, however, infant mortality in the United States still remains higher than in Europe and other developed countries. In 2014, the U.S. ranked 30th out of 35 member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In fact, each one of the top ten ranked OECD countries had infant mortality rates less than half of that of the U.S.

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