News from the FDA/CDC

U.S. infant mortality rates rise for first time in 2 decades


Infant mortality rates rose in 2022 for the first time in more than 20 years, according to a new government report.

The overall mortality rate and the rate for neonatal infants, those younger than 28 days old, rose by 3% from 2021 to 2022, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The mortality rate for infants older than 28 days rose by 4%.

Meanwhile, infant deaths caused by maternal complications rose by 8% and those caused by bacterial sepsis rose by 14%, the report says.

“We live in a country with significant resources, so the infant mortality rate and the increase are shockingly high,” wrote Sandy Chung, MD, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to CNN. “As pediatricians who help children grow into healthy adults, any death of any child is one too many. The infant mortality rate in this country in unacceptable.”

Experts say the increase could be a sign of an underlying health care issue, an unusual occurrence, or partly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The infant mortality rate rose among mothers aged 25-29 years; for preterm babies; for boys; and in Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas. The rate declined in Nevada.

“Mortality rates increased significantly among infants of American Indian and Alaska Native non-Hispanic ... and White non-Hispanic women,” the report says.

“Mortality rates for infants of Black women did not increase by much, the report found, but Black infants experienced the highest overall rates of infant mortality: nearly 11 deaths per 1,000 births, or over double the mortality rate of White infants,” CNN wrote.

“We know that for people who live in or near poverty and for certain racial and ethnic groups there are significant challenges with getting access to a doctor or getting treatments,” Dr. Chung wrote. “This can lead to moms and babies showing up for care when they are sicker and more likely have serious outcomes, even death.”

A version of this article first appeared on

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