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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Infant Mortality and African Americans

  • African Americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites.
  • African American infants are 3.8 times as likely to die from complications related to low birthweight as compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
  • African Americans had over twice the sudden infant death syndrome mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites, in 2017.
  • In 2017, African American mothers were 2.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic white mothers to receive late or no prenatal care.

Infant Mortality Rate

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, 2017
Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic White All Races Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
11.0 4.7 5.8 2.3

Source:  CDC 2019.  Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2017 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set.  National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 2.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_10-508.pdf [474.53KB]

Leading Causes of Infant Mortality

Infant deaths and mortality rates for the top 5 leading causes of death for African Americans, 2017 (Rates per 100,000 live births)
Cause of Death
(By rank)
# African American Deaths African American Death Rate #Non-Hispanic White Deaths Non-Hispanic White Death Rate African American / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
(1) Low-Birthweight 1,354 241.5 1,260 63.2 3.8
(2) Congenital Malformations 822 146.6 2,138 107.3 1.4
(3) Maternal Complications 467 83.3 470 23.6 3.5
(4) Accidents (unintentional injuries) 397 70.8 619 31.1 2.3
(5) Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) 391 69.7 688 34.5 2.0

Source:  CDC 2019.  Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2017 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set.  National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 5.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_10-508.pdf [474.53KB]

Characteristics of Mother

Percentage of mothers who received prenatal care (first trimester), 2017
Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
66.6 82.4 0.8

Source:  CDC 2019.  Births: Final Data for 2017  National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 13.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr67/nvsr67_08-508.pdf [987.68KB]

Percentage of mothers who received late or no prenatal care, 2017
Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
10.2 4.5 2.3

Source:  CDC 2019.  Births: Final Data for 2017  National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 13.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr67/nvsr67_08-508.pdf [987.68KB]

Percentage of mothers who smoked during pregnancy, 2017
Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
5.6 10.1 0.6

Source:  CDC 2019.  Births: Final Data for 2017  National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 13.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr67/nvsr67_08-508.pdf [987.68KB]

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, 2017
Age of Mother Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black / Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Under 20 years 13.0 8.5 1.5
20-24 years 11.4 6.1 1.9
25-29 years 10.4 4.6 2.3
30-34 years 10.6 3.8 2.8
35-39 years 10.2 4.1 2.5
40-54 years 13.6 5.3 2.6

Source:  CDC 2019.  Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2017 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set.  National Vital Statistics Reports. Table 2.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_10-508.pdf [474.53KB]

Last Modified: 11/8/2019 4:23:00 PM