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Infant Mortality Varies by State


The overall infant mortality rate in the U.S. declined 14% between 2005 and 2015, from 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 5.90 in 2015, according to the CDC. However, CDC researchers found a wide variation among the states, ranging from 9.08 deaths per 1,000 live births in Mississippi (the highest rate), to 4.28 deaths per 1,000 live births in Massachusetts (the lowest).

The CDC also looked at infant mortality rates based on race and ethnicity and found wide variation in those groupings as well.

One of the more telling stats: The lowest rate for non-Hispanic blacks (8.27 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Massachusetts) was still higher than the highest rate for non-Hispanic whites or Hispanics (7.04 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Arkansas).

The highest mortality rate for infants of non-Hispanic black women was 14.28 per 1,000 live births in Wisconsin.

The national infant mortality rate for infants of non-Hispanic black women was 11.10 per 1,000 live births. In state-by-state comparisons, eight states had infant mortality rates significantly lower than that rate: California (9.55), Colorado (8.87), Iowa (8.46), Massachusetts (8.27), New Jersey (9.92), New York (8.77), Texas (10.52), and Washington (8.55). Seven states had infant mortality rates that were significantly higher: Alabama (13.40), Illinois (12.11), Indiana (13.26), Michigan (12.10), North Carolina (12.24), Ohio (13.46), and Wisconsin (14.28).

The five leading causes of infant deaths in 2015 were birth defects, being born too early or having low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), maternal pregnancy complications, and injury.

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