Infant mortality rates highest for non-hispanic blacks

August 1, 2019

(HealthDay)—Mortality rates are much higher for infants of non-Hispanic black women than for infants of other race/ethnic groups, according to the Aug. 1 National Vital Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Danielle M. Ely, Ph.D., and Anne K. Driscoll, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, present descriptive tabulations of data for and infant using the 2017 linked birth/infant death file.

The researchers found that in 2017, 22,341 infant deaths were reported in the United States, with an infant mortality rate of 5.79 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which was not significantly different from the rate of 5.87 in 2016. For 2017, the neonatal and postneonatal mortality rates (3.85 and 1.94, respectively) were also essentially unchanged from 2016. The was more than twofold higher for infants of non-Hispanic black women than for infants of non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic women in 2017 (10.97 versus 4.67, 3.78, and 5.10, respectively). The highest mortality rate was seen for infants born very preterm (<28 weeks of gestation; 384.39), which was much higher than for those born at term (37 to 41 weeks of gestation; 2.10).

"The five leading causes of infant death in 2017 were the same as in 2016; cause of death rankings and mortality rates varied by maternal race and Hispanic origin," the authors write.

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