Objectives: This report presents 2002 period infant mortality statistics from the linked birth/infant death data file by a variety of maternal and infant characteristics. The linked file differs from the mortality file, which is based entirely on death certificate data.
Methods: Descriptive tabulations of data are presented and interpreted.
Results: The U.S. infant mortality rate increased from 6.8 infant deaths per 1000 live births in 2001 to 7.0 in 2002. The rate for infants of non-Hispanic white mothers was 5.7 in 2001 compared with 5.8 in 2002. The rate for infants of non-Hispanic black mothers was 13.5 in 2001 compared with 13.9 in 2002. Neither of the changes for non-Hispanic white nor non-Hispanic black was significant. Between 2001 and 2002, overall cause-specific rates increased 5 percent for low birthweight and 14 percent for maternal complications. The rate rose significantly for infants of mothers who smoked, 10.5 to 11.1. It also increased significantly from 10.7 to 11.5 for infants of mothers aged 15-17 years. The rate dropped significantly for triplet births, 71.4 to 60.1. Infant mortality rates ranged from 3.0 per 1000 live births for Chinese mothers to 13.9 for non-Hispanic black mothers. Among Hispanics, rates ranged from 3.7 for Cuban mothers to 8.2 for Puerto Rican mothers. Infant mortality rates were higher for those infants whose mothers were born in the 50 States and the District of Columbia, were unmarried, or smoked during pregnancy. Infant mortality was also higher for male infants, multiple births, and infants born preterm or at low birthweight. The three leading causes of infant death-Congenital malformations, low birthweight, and Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)-taken together accounted for 45 percent of all infant deaths. For infants of non-Hispanic black mothers, the cause-specific infant mortality rate for low birthweight was nearly four times that for infants of non-Hispanic white mothers. For infants of non-Hispanic black and American Indian mothers, the SIDS rates were at least double the rate for non-Hispanic white mothers. A more intensive analysis of the rise in the infant mortality rate utilizing information on maternal and infant health risk factors available in the linked birth/infant death and fetal death data files is forthcoming.