The Latest in Infant Mortality

This figure shows the national rates of infant mortality by state, as of 2017. Massachusetts has the lowest infant mortality rate, with 3.66 deaths per every 1,000 live births. On the other end of the scale, with the highest IMR, is Mississippi with a rate of 8.73 deaths per 1,000 live births. The national target for Healthy People 2020 is an IMR of 6.0 deaths per 1,000 live births (

This chart shows the gap in infant mortality rate between Black and White infants over a span of 37 years, from 1980 to 2017. As is clear from the figure, disparities in IMR have persisted despite overall reductions in infant mortality. Throughout this time period, the US infant mortality rate for Black infants has historically remained over two times higher than that of White infants. One notable limitation in this data regarding racial and ethnic categories is the fact that individuals with a multiple race background were assigned to a single race for analysis. Additionally, it was not until 2000 that the National Vital Statistics System began collecting separate information on non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White infants.

This figure displays the substantial decrease in infant mortality (by infant race/ethnicity) that occurred in the mid-20th century. However, similarly to the previous figure displaying IMR for Black and White infants in from 1980 to 2017, disparities by race and ethnicity have remained relatively consistent.

This chart presents the infant mortality rates for 2017 broken out by race and ethnicity. Note the limitations to the right of the figure.

As seen above, the overall rate of infant mortality for Hispanic populations is 5.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. However, this can be further explored for more specific populations, including Central & South American, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Mexican.

This figure shows the top five leading causes of infant mortality in 2017. Congenital malformations are responsible for the highest proportion of infant mortality (119.2 deaths per 100,000 live births), followed by short gestation and low birthweight (97.4 deaths per 100,000 live births), then maternal complications of pregnancy (37.2 deaths per 100,000 live births), sudden infant death syndrome (35.3 deaths per 100,000 live births), and accidents (341. deaths per 100,000 live births).

Coming soon!