What Is the Infant Mortality Rate?
The infant mortality rate (IMR) is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. The IMR is often used as an indicator to measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also affect infant mortality rates. Based on preliminary data, the IMR in 2011 declined to 6.05 overall, but disparities still exist. There are obvious differences in infant mortality by age, race, and ethnicity.
Medical advances over the last 60 years have helped save babies, and reduced overall infant mortality. However, the United States still has a relatively poor global standing compared with other developed nations. A main reason for this is because the United States has a high percentage of preterm births. The good news is we can also help reduce infant mortality among babies born preterm by addressing key risk factors such as prenatal smoking that contributes to low birthweight, preterm delivery, preterm-related death, and SIDS.