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Infant Mortality Rose during 2022

November 01, 2023

The national infant mortality rate rose 3 percent from 2021 to 2022, representing the first year-to-year increase since 2002, according to a new CDC report.

The report from the agency’s National Center for Health Statistics is the latest to call attention to a growing public health concern across the U.S. It’s estimated there were 20,538 birth/infant deaths during 2022, per provisional data.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Overall:  The national infant mortality rate during 2022 was 5.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which was 3 percent higher than 2021 (5.44).
    • The neonatal mortality rate (infant deaths at less than 28 days) increased 3 percent, and the postneonatal mortality rate (infant deaths from 28 days through 364 days) rose by 4 percent.
  • In Pennsylvania:  During 2022, Pennsylvania’s infant mortality rate was 5.69 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The state’s rate change from 2021 was not statistically significant.
  • State changes: Four states had statistically significant increases in infant mortality (Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas). Nevada was the only state with a statistically significant decline in its infant mortality rate.
  • Causes:  Last year, the infant mortality rate increased for two of the leading causes: maternal complications (30.4 infant deaths per 100,000 live births to 33) and bacterial sepsis (from 15.3 to 17.4).
  • Notable:  The infant mortality rates were highest for infants of Black women (10.86 deaths per 1,000 live births), American Indian and Alaska Natives (9.06), and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (8.50). 
    • During 2022, increases in mortality rates for infants of American Indian and Alaska Native (7.46 infant deaths per 1,000 live births to 9.06) and White (4.36 to 4.52) women were statistically significant.

In a statement, Sandy L. Chung, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, noted the need to address social determinants of health (access to healthy food and prenatal health care) and racial and ethnic disparities that are among the “many possible reasons for lower birth weights of babies and sometimes, infant deaths.”

HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals are dedicated to supporting infant and maternal health. This includes a focus on population health and participation in initiatives that are dedicated to improving outcomes across the commonwealth.

The CDC report is available online.