HomeWorld NewsStates With the Highest Infant Death Rates

States With the Highest Infant Death Rates

The nation’s infant mortality rate continued its decadeslong decline in 2020, reaching a historic low of 5.42 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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That marks a 3% decrease from the rate of 5.58 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019. US infant mortality – meaning the death of an infant before their first birthday – generally has been in decline since at least the mid-1990s, with the rate in 2020 more than 28% lower than in 1995.

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As in previous years, infant mortality in 2020 varied greatly by the mother’s race or ethnicity, with Black women continuing to experience the highest rate at 10.38 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. American Indian or Alaska Native women had the second-highest rate at 7.68 infant deaths per 1,000, while Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander women had the third-highest rate at 7.17 deaths per 1,000.

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Asian women continued to have the lowest infant mortality rate at 3.14 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2020, while non-Hispanic white women had the second-lowest rate at 4.40 deaths per 1,000.

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Hispanic women experienced the only statistically significant decline in infant mortality among racial and ethnic groups from 2019 to 2020, with the rate falling by 7% from 5.03 deaths to 4.69 per 1,000 live births. A driver of that decrease was a 14% drop in infant mortality among babies born to Central and South American women, from 4.53 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019 to 3.88 deaths per 1,000 in 2020.

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A total of 16 states had infant mortality rates that were significantly higher than the US rate, according to the report, while 12 states had infant mortality rates that were significantly lower than the national rate. Infant mortality ranged from lows of under 4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births for California, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to highs of more than 7 deaths for every 1,000 live births for states predominantly located in the South.

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These are the 10 states with the highest infant mortality rates in 2020, according to the CDC analysis. Rates and deaths are classified by the mother’s state of residence, and may not reflect where all deaths actually occurred.

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