Infant Mortality

Why This Is Important

Infant mortality is recognized by the World Health Organization as a sentinel measure of population health. Disparities in infant mortality reflect a constellation of risk factors, including the long-term effects of poverty and stress, poor maternal health, unhealthy physical and social environments, and lack of access to high-quality health care.

What's Being Done

Reducing infant mortality, especially among low-income and racial or ethnic minority groups, requires collaborative efforts among policymakers, service providers and the community to increase education, provide enhanced social support for pregnant women and new mothers, ensure adequate nutrition and safe living environments for families, and increase access to affordable and high-quality healthcare before, during and after pregnancy.

Key initiatives to reduce infant mortality include:

  • Targeting preventable deaths by suffocation by increasing training on safe sleep practices and providing portable cribs to new mothers who need a safe place for their infant to sleep.
  • Using culturally sensitive tools and techniques to help women stop smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs during pregnancy, especially among American Indian and black women.

About this Measure

Infant mortality rates come from the Minnesota Department of Health. Infant mortality is calculated as the number of deaths before the first birthday per 1,000 live births. Due to the low number of infant deaths for some race and ethnic groups, a three-year rolling average is used.

Last updated Feb 23, 2012

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