The infant mortality rate in the United States increased in 2022 for the first time in 20 years, according to provisional data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Vital Statistics.
According to the provisional report, there were 5.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022, a 3% increase from the 5.44 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2021. It was the first year-to-year increase since 2001–2002, the CDC said.
For comparison, the infant mortality rate declined 22% between 2002 and 2021, the agency said.
Mortality rates increased significantly for two of the 10 leading causes of death: maternal complications and bacterial sepsis of the newborn, the CDC said. Increases in other causes, such as unintentional injuries and respiratory distress of the newborn were not significant, while infant mortality rates for congenital malformations and sudden infant death syndrome were essentially unchanged.
The neonatal mortality rate, defined as deaths before 28 days of life, rose 3% to 3.58 per 1,000 live births in 2022. The postneonatal mortality rate, defined as deaths that occur between 28 and 364 days of life, rose 4% to 2.02 per 1,000 in 2022.
Among racial and ethnic groups, infant mortality rates increased the most among those born to American Indian/Alaskan Native mothers, from 7.46 deaths per 1,000 births in 2021 to 9.06 deaths in 2022, followed by white mothers, from 4.36 deaths per 1,000 in 2021 to 4.52 deaths in 2022.
The decline in infant mortality rates among those born to Asian mothers, and increases for all other racial and ethnic groups were not statistically significant, the agency said.
Mortality rates increased for infants born prematurely and male infants, the CDC said. While infant mortality rates increased in more than half of U.S. states in 2022, significant increases were recorded in four states: Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas.
TMX contributed to this article.