NCHS Data Briefs
Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States, 2005–2014
NCHS Data Brief No. 279, March 2017
Infant mortality is considered a basic measure of public health for countries around the world (1–3). Over the past decade, the overall infant mortality rate in the United States has improved, declining 15% from 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005—a recent high—to 5.82 in 2014 (4). Over the years, many efforts have been made to understand and lower infant mortality (4,5). This report examines the 2014 linked birth/infant death data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) to describe trends in infant mortality in the United States by race and Hispanic origin, state, and leading causes of infant deaths from 2005 through 2014.
- In 2014, infant mortality rates for the United States reached new lows for Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Asian or Pacific Islander populations.
- From 2005 through 2014, declines in infant mortality rates were observed for all race and Hispanic-origin subgroups except among American Indian or Alaska Native persons. The largest declines were among infants of Asian or Pacific Islander (21%) and non-Hispanic black (20%) women.
- Declines were observed from 2005–2007 to 2012–2014 for all Hispanic subgroups. The largest declines occurred among infants of Cuban (19%) and Puerto Rican (17%) women.
- From 2005 through 2014, the infant mortality rate for sudden infant death syndrome declined 29%, which was the largest decline observed among the top five leading causes of infant death.