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Child Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

International Infant Mortality

Narrative

In 2009, the U.S. infant mortality rate (6.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births) ranked 27th in infant mortality among industrialized nations with populations of 2.5 million or greater, behind most European countries, Canada, Australia, Israel, and Republic of Korea. Japan was ranked first with the lowest infant mortality rate of 2.4 per 1,000 live births, followed by Sweden and Finland with infant mortality rates of with 2.5 and 2.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively. The U.S. did not always rank this low; in 1960, it ranked 11th, with Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden reporting the three lowest rates among industrialized nations that year.

Differences in infant mortality rates among industrialized nations may reflect variation in the definition, measurement, and reporting of fetal and infant deaths. However, analyses by gestational age indicate that this disparity is most likely related to the high rate of preterm birth in the United States.1 Infants born preterm (or less than 37 weeks gestation) have higher rates of death and disability than infants born at term (37 weeks gestation or more). Although the United States compares favorably with European countries with respect to the survival of preterm infants, the higher rate of preterm birth in the U.S. overall significantly impacts the infant mortality rate. Mortality among infants born at term (37+ weeks’ gestation) is also higher in the United States.

1 MacDorman MF, Mathews TJ. Behind international rankings of infant mortality: How the United States compares with Europe. NCHS data brief, no 23. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009.

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Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

international infant mortality rates table

Data

International Infant Mortality Rates and Rankings,* Selected Countries,** 1960 and 2009
Country Infant Mortality Rates per 1,000 Live Births, 1960 Infant Mortality Rates per 1,000 Live Births, 2009 Infant Mortality Rankings per 1,000 Live Births, 1960 Infant Mortality Rankings per 1,000 Live Births, 2009
*Rankings are from lowest to highest infant mortality rates (IMR). Countries with the same IMR receive the same rank. Relative rankings may be affected if not all counties have reported data.
**Only countries with at least 2.5 million in population and listed in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development database were listed.
Source: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD.StatExtracts : Maternal and Infant Mortality. Accessed: 04/09/2013.
Australia 20.2 4.3 5 19
Austria 37.5 3.8 19 14
Belgium 31.4 3.5 17 11
Canada 27.3 4.9 12 22
Chile 120.3 7.9 27 28
Czech Republic 20.0 2.9 4 4
Denmark 21.5 2.9 4 4
Finland 21.0 2.6 6 3
France 27.7 3.9 13 17
Germany 35.0 3.5 18 11
Greece 40.1 3.1 20 5
Hungary 47.6 5.1 23 23
Ireland 29.3 3.3 15 10
Israel Data not available 3.8 Data not available 14
Italy 43.9 3.9 22 17
Japan 30.7 2.4 16 1
Mexico 92.3 14.6 26 30
Netherlands 16.5 3.8 2 14
New Zealand 22.6 5.2 10 24
Norway 16.0 3.1 1 5
Poland 56.1 5.6 24 25
Portugal 77.5 3.6 25 13
Republic of Korea Data not available 3.2 Data not available 8
Slovak Republic 28.6 5.7 14 26
Spain 43.7 3.2 21 8
Sweden 16.6 2.5 3 2
Switzerland 21.1 4.3 7 19
Turkey 189.5 10.2 28 29
United Kingdom 22.5 4.6 9 21
United States 26.0 6.4 11 27