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 (www.healthypeople.gov).
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.