In the United States, the risk of infants dying in their first year of life is declining, with an all-time low infant mortality rate of 6.1 deaths for every 1,000 live births reported in 2010 (preliminary data).
However, among industrialized nations the U.S. ranks 27th according to final data from 2008 (the most recent year for which comparative data are available). Too many U.S. babies are born too small or soon, and preterm birth is a leading cause of infant death. Persistent racial-ethnic disparities are another factor. The infant mortality rate for black infants is more than 2 times the rate for white infants.
Infant mortality is an important indicator of health for any nation. Infant mortality rates are used worldwide to gauge the health and well-being of populations, and growing evidence suggests that higher infant mortality within a population is linked to that population's overall health and development across the life course.
HRSA supports strategies and programs to prevent infant mortality and decrease disparities.
The Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality brings together infant mortality experts to share best practices and lessons learned.
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting grants assist States to offer services to at-risk families in their homes and connect them with the assistance they need to raise healthy children. These services often begin during pregnancy and can help to improve birth outcomes.
Healthy Start grants help 104 of the Nation's most at-risk communities to lower high rates of infant mortality and reduce disparities by improving the health of women, infants, and families.
Learn more: Healthy Start
Enacted in 1935 as a part of the Social Security Act, the Title V Maternal and Child Health Program is the Nation’s oldest Federal-State partnership. For over 75 years, the Federal Title V Maternal and Child Health program has provided a foundation for ensuring the health of the Nation’s mothers, women, children and youth, including children and youth with special health care needs, and their families. Title V converted to a Block Grant Program in 1981.
Learn more: Title V
Stop smoking, especially during pregnancy.
Get recommended well-woman visits, prenatal care and well-baby check-ups.
Every woman needs 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
Breastfeed for the health of you and your baby.
Put babies to sleep safely: on their backs on a firm sleep surface with no soft objects in the sleep area.
Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health archived webcast (01/10/2012)
Perinatal Periods of Risk: Using Data and Community Involvement to Prevent Infant Mortality archived webcast (04/12/2011)
Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) and Healthy Start: Expanding Opportunities For Collaboration archived webcast (03/29/2011)
Preconception Health and Health Care, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Understanding Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Infant Mortality Rate data brief, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2008 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set, National Vital Statistics Reports, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention