FIGURE 2-1 Infant mortality rates in 17 peer countries, 2005-2009.
NOTE: Rates averaged over 2005-2009.
SOURCE: Data from OECD (2012c).

Infancy and Early Childhood: Ages 0-4

Birth Outcomes

Infant mortality rates in the United States have been stagnant in the past decade and are now higher than in most high-income countries (Congressional Budget Office, 1992; MacDorman and Mathews, 2009; OECD, 2011b). From 2005-2009, the United States had the highest infant mortality rate (6.7 per 1,000 live births) of the 17 peer countries and the 31st highest in the OECD (OECD, 2011b) (see Figure 2-1).7 The U.S. ranking on birth outcomes—including stillbirths, infant mortality, and low birth weight—can be seen in Table 2-1. Across these indicators, the United States has the lowest composite rank. The U.S. rate for stillbirths and perinatal mortality


7Among 40 OECD countries in 2009, the only countries with a higher infant mortality rate than the United States were Brazil, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Russian Federation, South Africa, and Turkey (OECD, 2011b). Cross-national variation in infant mortality rates is partly affected by differences in how countries register preterm births. In the United States, Canada, and Nordic countries, preterm neonates who often have low probabilities of survival are registered as live births, thereby increasing the mortality rate relative to countries that do not include preterm neonates among live births.

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