The US Infant Mortality Rate Rose Last Year. the CDC Says It’s the Largest Increase in Two Decades
The U.S. infant mortality rate rose 3% last year, which is the largest increase in two decades
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. infant mortality rate rose 3% last year — the largest increase in two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
White and Native American infants, infant boys and babies born at 37 weeks or earlier had significant death rate increases. The CDC’s report, published Wednesday, also noted larger increases for two of the leading causes of infant deaths — maternal complications and bacterial meningitis.
Infant mortality is the measure of how many babies die before they reach their first birthday. Because the number of babies born in the U.S. varies from year to year, researchers instead calculate rates to better compare infant mortality over time. The U.S. infant mortality rate has been worse than other high-income countries, which experts have attributed to poverty, inadequate prenatal care and other possibilities. But even so, the U.S. rate generally gradually improved because of medical advances and public health efforts.
“Today’s data underscores that our failure to better support moms before, during, and after birth is among the factors contributing to poor infant health outcomes,” Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, chief executive of the March of Dimes, said in a statement.
The national rate rose to 5.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022, up from from 5.44 per 1,000 the year before, the new report said.
The increase may seem small, but it’s the first statistically significant jump in the rate since the increase between 2001 and 2002, said Danielle Ely, the CDC report’s lead author. She also said researchers could not establish whether the 2022 rise was a one-year statistical blip — or the beginning of a more lasting trend.
Overall in the U.S., the death rate fell 5% in 2022 — a general decrease that’s been attributed to the waning impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on people 65 and older. U.S. maternal deaths also fell last year.
More than 30 states saw at least slight rises in infant mortality rates in 2022, but four states had statistically significant increases — Georgia, Iowa, Missouri and Texas.
In numbers, U.S. infant deaths surpassed 20,500 in 2022 — 610 more than the year before nationwide. But Georgia had 116 more infant deaths than the year before, and Texas had 251 more.
“It looks like some states may have a bigger impact on interest rates,” Ely said, adding that smaller increases elsewhere also had an impact — and it’s difficult to parse out exactly where, exactly. Is it books or other issues? Factors behind national statistics
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Communications Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.
Copyright 2023 Associated Press. Copyrighted. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.