Infant Death in the US

The US has the highest rate of infant mortality in the industrialied world. While there US MAP infant deathshas been improvement in all countries over the last decade, in the US 5.8 infants die out of every 1,000 born at full term. Canada is number 2, with 4.8 deaths per thousand births. Japan leads industrialized countries with 2.1 deaths per thousand births.(1)

However, the US problem isn’t evenly distributed across the US. Further, a primary cause of death is SIDS, and that’s not evenly distributed across the US either.

The problem states with the worst infant death rates tend to be those with the highest levels of poverty, lower levels of education, and lowest levels of spending on public health:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Paradox? The “Bible Belt” insists that children be born, but it’s OK if they die immediately afterwards. Really?


  2. Neha Bairoliya, Günther Fink. Causes of death and infant mortality rates among full-term births in the United States between 2010 and 2012: An observational study. PLOS Medicine, 2018; 15 (3): e1002531 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002531
  3. PLOS. “State-by-state causes of infant mortality in the US: State-by-state analysis links sudden unexpected deaths of infants (SUDI) to high proportion of full-term infant mortality in the U.S..” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2018. <>

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