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Infant Mortality and African Americans

  • Non-Hispanic blacks/African Americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites.
  • Non-Hispanic black/African American infants are four times as likely to die from complications related to low birthweight as compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
  • Non-Hispanic black/African American infants had twice the sudden infant death syndrome mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites, in 2018.
  • In 2018, Non-Hispanic black/African American mothers were twice as likely to receive late or no prenatal care as compared to non-Hispanic white mothers.

Infant Mortality Rate

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, 2018

Black* White* All Races Black / White Ratio
10.8 4.6 5.7 2.3

Source: CDC 2020. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2018 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 2.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr69/NVSR-69-7-508.pdf [PDF 487KB]

Leading Causes of Infant Mortality

Infant deaths and mortality rates for the top 5 leading causes of death for African Americans, 2018 (Rates per 100,000 live births)

Cause of Death
(By rank)
# Black Deaths Black Death Rate # White Deaths White Death Rate Black / White Ratio
(1) Low-Birthweight 1,366 247.5 1,215 62.1 4.0
(2) Congenital Malformations 866 156.9 2,178 111.3 1.4
(3) Maternal Complications 429 77.7 446 22.8 3.4
(4) Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) 384 69.6 635 32.5 2.1
(5) Accidents (unintentional injuries) 320 58.0 580 29.7 2.0

Source: CDC 2020. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2018 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 4.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr69/NVSR-69-7-508.pdf [PDF 487KB]

Characteristics of Mother

Percentage of mothers who received prenatal care (first trimester), 2019

Black White Black / White Ratio
67.6 82.8 0.8

Source: CDC 2021. Births: Final Data for 2019 National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 13.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr70/nvsr70-02-508.pdf [PDF 1MB]

Percentage of mothers who received late or no prenatal care, 2019

Black White Black / White Ratio
9.6 4.5 2.1

Source: CDC 2021. Births: Final Data for 2019 National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 13.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr70/nvsr70-02-508.pdf [PDF 1MB]

Percentage of mothers who smoked during pregnancy, 2019

Black White Black / White Ratio
4.8 8.8 0.5

Source: CDC 2021. Births: Final Data for 2019 National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 13.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr70/nvsr70-02-508.pdf [PDF 1MB]

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, 2018

Age of Mother Black White Black / White Ratio
Under 20 years 12.3 8.5 1.4
20-24 years 11.1 6.1 1.8
25-29 years 10.7 4.7 2.3
30-34 years 10.1 3.6 2.8
35-39 years 9.9 4.1 2.4
40-54 years 13.3 5.3 2.4

Source: CDC 2020. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2018 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 2.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr69/NVSR-69-7-508.pdf [PDF 487KB]

*All data in the above surveys relate to non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites.

Last Modified: 7/8/2021 2:50:00 PM