UNITED STATES NEWS

The US infant mortality rate rose last year. The CDC says it’s the largest increase in two decades

Nov 1, 2023, 6:00 PM

 

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. infant mortality rate rose 3% last year — the largest increase in two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

White and Native American infants, infant boys and babies born at 37 weeks or earlier had significant death rate increases. The CDC’s report, published Wednesday, also noted larger increases for two of the leading causes of infant deaths — maternal complications and bacterial meningitis.

“It’s definitely concerning, given that it’s going in the opposite direction from what it has been,” said Marie Thoma, a University of Maryland researcher who studies maternal and infant mortality.

Dr. Eric Eichenwald, a Philadelphia-based neonatologist, called the new data “disturbing,” but said experts at this point can only speculate as to why a statistic that generally has been falling for decades rose sharply in 2022.

RSV and flu infections rebounded last fall after two years of pandemic precautions, filling pediatric emergency rooms across the country. “That could potentially account for some of it,” said Eichenwald, who chairs an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that writes guidelines for medical care of newborns.

Infant mortality is the measure of how many babies die before they reach their first birthday. Because the number of babies born in the U.S. varies from year to year, researchers instead calculate rates to better compare infant mortality over time. The U.S. infant mortality rate has been worse than other high-income countries, which experts have attributed to poverty, inadequate prenatal care and other possibilities. But even so, the U.S. rate generally gradually improved because of medical advances and public health efforts.

The national rate rose to 5.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022, up from from 5.44 per 1,000 the year before, the new report said.

The increase may seem small, but it’s the first statistically significant jump in the rate since the increase between 2001 and 2002, said Danielle Ely, the CDC report’s lead author. She also said researchers could not establish whether the 2022 rise was a one-year statistical blip — or the beginning of a more lasting trend.

Overall in the U.S., the death rate fell 5% in 2022 — a general decrease that’s been attributed to the waning impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on people 65 and older. U.S. maternal deaths also fell last year.

More than 30 states saw at least slight rises in infant mortality rates in 2022, but four states had statistically significant increases — Georgia, Iowa, Missouri and Texas.

In numbers, U.S. infant deaths surpassed 20,500 in 2022 — 610 more than the year before nationwide. But Georgia had 116 more infant deaths than the year before, and Texas had 251 more.

“It would appear that some of the states could be having a larger impact on the (national) rate,” Ely said, adding that smaller increases elsewhere also have an effect — and that it’s hard to parse out exactly what places, policies or other factors are behind the national statistic.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

 

United States News

Associated Press

Four people charged in the case of 2 women missing from Oklahoma

Four people were arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping over the weekend in connection with the disappearances of two Oklahoma women. Veronica Butler, 27; and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, were driving through the Oklahoma panhandle to pick up Butler’s children for a March 30 birthday party in Kansas but never showed up. […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Detectives solve 1968 killing of World War II veteran who became milkman, Florida sheriff says

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — More than five decades after a World War II veteran was slain while working as a milkman in Florida, investigators say they’ve solved the case thanks to two people who came forward after the killer died. Hiram “Ross” Grayam was delivering milk in April 1968 and failed to return home […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Gene Herrick, AP photographer who covered the Korean war and civil rights, dies at 97

RICH CREEK, Va. (AP) — Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered the Korean War and is known for his iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the trial of the killers of Emmett Till in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, died Friday. He was 97. In […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Wife of ex-Harvard morgue manager pleads guilty to transporting stolen human remains

WILLIAMSPORT. Pa. (AP) — The wife of a former Harvard Medical School morgue manager has pleaded guilty to a federal charge after investigators said she shipped stolen human body parts — including hands, feet and heads — to buyers. Denise Lodge, 64, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in the […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at Baltimore mall sends girl, 7, to hospital

BALTIMORE (AP) — A 7-year-old girl was hospitalized Saturday after she was shot at a Baltimore shopping mall. Baltimore police say the girl was shot Saturday afternoon at Mondawmin Mall. According to police, two groups at the mall got into an altercation, and an unidentified male fired a shot as he was running away that […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Chicago shooting kills 8-year-old girl and wounds 10 people including small children, police say

CHICAGO (AP) — Eleven people standing outside a family gathering Saturday night were shot including a young girl who was killed in what Chicago police believe was gang-related violence on the city’s South Side. Four victims were children, police said Sunday. An 8-year-old girl was fatally shot, while a 1-year-old boy and a 8-year-old boy […]

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

The US infant mortality rate rose last year. The CDC says it’s the largest increase in two decades