Infant mortality is the death of young children mainly below the age of one year. Infant Mortality Rate is the measure of such deaths. It is outlined as the total deaths of children below one year per 1000 live births. The biggest contributor to infant mortality is premature births. Other major causes of infant mortality include birth complications, prolonged labor, neonatal infections, malaria, measles, diarrhea, and pneumonia among others. Indirect factors such as environmental conditions and medical infrastructure can contribute to infant mortality. There are some preventable causes of infant mortality such as smoking while pregnant. Measures of reducing infant mortality include improved sanitation, immunization against infectious illnesses, and other public service measures.
US States with the Lowest Infant Mortality Rates
Throughout the word, there are drastic fluctuations in infant mortality rate. In the United States of America for instance, different states record different infant mortality rates. Some of the states with the lowest infant mortality rates include:
Massachusetts has the lowest infant mortality rate of 4.3. Massachusetts is one of the healthiest states in the United States. The United Health Foundation ranked Massachusetts as the second healthiest state after Hawaii. According to the ranking, Massachusetts was leading in areas of children health, senior health, and women health. Despite having low infant mortality, Massachusetts records persistent gaps in the deaths of black, white and Hispanic babies. More deaths are recorded in black babies than white ones. The leading cause of death among Massachusetts infants is sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). It is estimated that an average of 32 Massachusetts infants dies every year due to SUID. In Massachusetts, a consistent effort is made to educate mothers on Safe Sleep Practices.
New Jersey has a low infant mortality rate of 4.4. This has been attained through consistent efforts of according pregnant women prenatal care. Women facing high risks receive extra support including early delivery arrangements. This has helped reduce infant mortality among all races. Technological advancement makes it easy to give premature infants better chances of survival. Statistics indicate that since the year 2000, the overall death rate of babies in New Jersey has lowered by almost 25%. New Jersey has the biggest gap in the US between black and white infant mortality rates. More black babies die before celebrating their first birthday as compared to white babies. Despite the low infant mortality, studies show that children of African-American women are more than three times likely to die as those born to white women.
Iowa records a low infant mortality rate of 4.5 for every 1000 live births. Between the years 2003 and 2013, the child mortality rate in Iowa reduced by more than 26%. In the year 2013, for instance, only 166 children died before reaching one year in Iowa. This was a mortality rate of 4.2 per 1000 live births. Of the 166 deaths in 2013, 63% of infant deaths happened in the neonatal period. The remaining 37% died in the post-neonatal period. Some of the causes of infant deaths in Iowa include birth defects, premature births, sudden infant death syndrome, and respiratory distress syndrome.
Washington has an infant mortality rate of 4.5. Infant mortality rate in Washington decreased sharply through the 1990s. In the year 2011, 387 infant deaths were recorded in the entire Washington state. The infant mortality rate for 2011 was 4.5 deaths per 1000 live births. This was a great improvement from 2009 mortality rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. The leading causes of infant mortality in Washington include Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), birth defects, and low birth weight. Infants whose mothers are American Indian or Alaska natives have a higher risk of infant deaths. Infant of black mothers also has a higher mortality rate compared to white. In Washington, infant mortality mainly occurs among teen mothers. The Healthy People goal for 2020 was to reduce infant mortality rate to six deaths per 1000 live births. Washington has surpassed this target.
The infant mortality rate at California stands at 4.5 deaths for every 1000 live births. California Department of Public Health and National Center for Health Statistics recorded a decline in infant mortality rate by 37% between the years 1994 and 2015. The infant mortality reduced from seven infant deaths per 1000 live births to the current 4.5 deaths. The few infant deaths that occur in California mainly result from disorders associated with preterm birth and low birth weight. There are some disparities in infant mortality by race or ethnicity. More infant deaths are recorded among black and multiracial mothers than in Hispanic and white mothers.
Vermont records an infant mortality rate of 4.5. Prenatal reduction strategies have helped reduce the rate of infant deaths. Focus on both prenatal care and postnatal care help reduce infant mortality. According to National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) report, 26 infants died in Vermont before their first birthday in 2013. This translated to an infant mortality rate of 4.4 deaths per 1000 live births. NCHS reports further reveal that between 2003 and 2013, infant mortality rate in Vermont reduce by more than 15%.
Connecticut has an infant mortality rate of 4.8. As at 2013, 173 infants died in Connecticut before reaching their first birthday. This is an infant mortality rate of 4.8. Between the year 2003 and 2013, infant mortality rate in Connecticut decreased by 9%. This is due to improved health practices for mothers and children. The 2020 health goal for Connecticut was to reduce the infant mortality rate to 6 deaths per 1000 live births. This target has been surpassed.
New York City has a low infant mortality rate of 4.8. The leading causes of infant deaths in New York include premature births, cardiovascular diseases and birth defects. Black women are more likely to have preterm and low weight infants than white women. Despite the low infant mortality rate, New York continues to experience a racial and ethnic disparity in infant mortality. Health efforts in New York are focused on closing this disparity.
Other States with Low Infant Mortality Rate
Other states in the US that experience a low infant mortality rate include Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah. Colorado has an infant mortality rate of 4.9 deaths per 1000 live births while New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah all have infant mortality rates of five deaths per 1000 live births.