10 states with the highest infant mortality rate

The infant mortality rate in the U.S. continues to fall, and in 2020 the nation reached a historic low of 5.42 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to a Sept. 29 analysis from U.S. News & World Report.

The most recent data from the CDC indicates a 3 percent decrease from the rate of 5.58 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019. 

A total of 16 states had infant mortality rates significantly higher than the U.S. average, while 12 states had rates significantly lower than the national average. 

According to U.S. News' analysis of the CDC data, these are the 10 states with the highest infant mortality rates in 2020. Rates and deaths are classified by the mother's state of residence and may not reflect where all deaths actually occurred.

  1. Mississippi — infant mortality rate of 8.12, representing 288 deaths.
  2. Louisiana — infant mortality rate of 7.59, representing 435 deaths. 
  3. Arkansas — infant mortality rate of 7.38, representing 260 deaths. 
  4. West Virginia — infant mortality rate of 7.33, representing 127 deaths.
  5. South Dakota — infant mortality rate of 7.30, representing 80 deaths. 
  6. Alabama — infant mortality rate of 6.99, representing 403 deaths. 
  7. Michigan — infant mortality rate of 6.80, representing 708 deaths. 
  8. North Carolina — infant mortality rate of 6.77, representing 790 deaths. 
  9. Indiana — infant mortality rate of 6.75, representing 531 deaths. 
  10. Ohio — infant mortality rate of 6.70, representing 865 deaths.

Infant mortality is defined by the CDC as the death of an infant before their first birthday. It has been in decline since the mid-1990s, and the 2020 rate is more than 28 percent lower than it was in 1995, according to the report. 

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