U.S. Sees High Levels of Preterm Births and Infant Mortality, Surpassing Global Averages and Peers: March of Dimes Report

November 17, 2023

Preterm births and infant mortality rates remain a concern in the U.S., as stated in a recent report by March of Dimes. In 2022, 10.4% of all births were preterm (before 37 weeks gestation), slightly higher than the global average of 9.9%, placing the U.S. at the top among wealthy countries. For comparison, the rates are 7.6% in the U.K., 6.8% in Italy, and around 5% in Japan. Southern states have the most severe preterm rates, with Mississippi at the highest with 14.8%. The distribution of these rates highlights racial and ethnic disparities, with Black babies being born preterm at 14.6% compared to 9.4% of white babies and 9% of Asian babies. Preterm births account for nearly 16% of infant deaths. Additionally, the U.S. infant mortality rate increased by 3% in 2022 from 2021, with 5.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which is significantly higher compared to other wealthy countries. There are racial disparities in this as well, with Black babies having an infant mortality rate of approximately 2.5 times that of white babies.

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[Source: STAT, November 17th, 2023]

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