Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health of a nation. A new NCHS report describes the recent decline in the U.S. infant mortality rate from 2005 through 2011. Changes in infant mortality rates over time are examined by age at death, maternal race and ethnicity, cause of death, and state. In 2011, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.05 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (based on preliminary data), 12% lower than the rate of 6.87 in 2005, but not significantly lower than 6.15 in 2010.
Key findings from the report:
- Following a plateau from 2000 through 2005, the U.S. infant mortality rate declined 12% from 2005 through 2011. Declines for neonatal and postneonatal mortality were similar.
- From 2005 through 2011, infant mortality declined 16% for non-Hispanic black women and 12% for non-Hispanic white women.
- Infant mortality declined for four of the five leading causes of death during the 2005–2011 period.
- Infant mortality rates declined most rapidly among some, but not all, Southern states from 2005 through 2010. Despite these declines, states in the South still had among the highest rates in 2010. Rates were also high in 2010 in some states in the Midwest.