New Low in U.S. Infant Mortality Rate

December 15, 2015

Baby LaughingThe infant mortality rate in the U.S. dropped 2.3 percent to a historic low in 2014, according to new federal data. The reduction means more children will get off to a strong, healthy start in life, leading to better long-term health outcomes.

The U.S. infant mortality rate is now 5.82 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate has been steadily declining since a peak in 2005. 

“This is wonderful news, and it reinforces that the collaborative work happening by organizations and agencies to implement preventative strategies to reduce infant mortality—like reducing non-medically indicated early deliveries and preventing preterm birth—is having an impact,” says NICHQ CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP. 

One concern, however, is that equity gaps remain. The infant mortality rate for African Americans is still nearly double that of Caucasians. And, the leading causes of infant death remain unchanged. The top five are: congenital malformations, low birth weight, maternal complications, sudden infant death syndrome and unintended injuries.

NICHQ is leading the national Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (Infant Mortality CoIIN), along with the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). The project engages federal, state and local leaders, public and private agencies, professionals and communities to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes through quality improvement, innovation and collaborative learning. The states in the Infant Mortality CoIIN have identified six strategy areas to focus the collective work:

  • Improve safe sleep practices
  • Reduce smoking before, during and/or after pregnancy
  • Optimize pre- and interconception care
  • Prevent preterm and early term births
  • Support risk-appropriate perinatal care
  • Improve social determinants of health and equity in birth outcomes

“For years, regional, state and local efforts to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes have existed,” says Infant Mortality CoIIN Project Director Elaine Fitzgerald DrPH, MIA. "The IM CoIIN is helping to bring national attention to how a unified, collaborative approach can accelerate improvements and help more babies reach their first birthdays and beyond."

Learn more about the Infant Mortality CoIIN at

For media inquiries, please contact:
Josh Licursi
Josh Licursi
NICHQ Communications Manager
[email protected] or 617-391-2757