Objectives: This report presents 1998 period infant mortality statistics from the linked birth/infant death data set (linked file) by a variety of maternal and infant characteristics.
Methods: Descriptive tabulations of data are presented.
Results: In general, mortality rates were lowest for infants born to Cuban mothers (3.6 per 1,000), Central and South American (5.3), Asian or Pacific Islander (5.5), Mexican (5.6), and non-Hispanic white mothers (6.0), followed by Puerto Rican (7.8), American Indian (9.3), and black mothers (13.8). Infant mortality rates (IMRs) were higher for those infants whose mothers had no prenatal care, were teenagers, had 9-11 years of education, were unmarried, or smoked during pregnancy. Infant mortality was also higher for male infants, multiple births, and infants born preterm or at low birthweight. In 1998, 65 percent of all infant deaths occurred to the 7.6 percent of infants born at low birthweight. The three leading causes of infant death--Congenital anomalies, Disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birthweight (low birthweight), and Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)--taken together accounted for 46 percent of all infant deaths in the United States in 1998. Cause-specific mortality rates varied considerably by race and Hispanic origin. For infants of black mothers, the IMR for low birthweight was nearly four times that for white mothers. For infants of American Indian mothers, the SIDS rate was 3.8 times that for Asian or Pacific Islander (API) mothers. For infants of Hispanic mothers, the SIDS rate was 44 percent lower than that for non-Hispanic white mothers.