News from the FDA/CDC

U.S. infant mortality continued slow decline in 2017


Infant mortality dropped slightly but not significantly in 2017, according to data released Aug. 1 by the National Center for Health Statistics, based on data from the National Vital Statistics System.

Infant deaths per 1,000 births by state, 2017

The rate for 2017 was 5.79 deaths per 1,000 live births, which was not statistically different from the rate of 5.87 in 2016, the National Center for Health Statistics said in a new report. Neonatal and postneonatal mortality – 3.85 and 1.94 per 1,000, respectively – both showed the same nonsignificant drop from 2016 to 2017.

About two-thirds of the infants who died in 2017 were children born preterm (less than 37 weeks’ gestation), the NCHS said, and “the mortality rate for infants born before 28 weeks of gestation [389.4 per 1,000] was 183 times the rate for term infants” born at 37-41 weeks.

Rates at the state level in 2017 ranged from a low of 3.66 deaths/1,000 live births in Massachusetts to a high of 8.73/1,000 in Mississippi. Washington (3.88) was the only other state with a rate below 4.0, while Arkansas (8.10) was the only other state above 8.0 (The District of Columbia had a rate of 8.16.). Infant mortality was significantly lower than the national rate in 11 states and significantly higher in 15 states and D.C., according to the report.

Overall, in 2017, 3,855,500 live births occurred, with 22,341 infants having died before the age of 1 year, data from the National Vital Statistics System’s linked birth/infant death file show. In 1995, the first year that the linked file was available, the corresponding numbers were 3,899,589 births and 29,505 deaths, for a rate of 7.57 deaths/1,000 live births.

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