Objectives—This report presents 2003 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. Excluding rates by cause of death, the infant mortality rate is now published with two decimal places. Results—The U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.84 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2003, a return to the rate in 2001, compared with 6.95 in 2002. Infant mortality rates ranged from 4.83 per 1,000 live births for Asian or Pacific Islander mothers to 13.60 for non-Hispanic black mothers. Among Hispanics, rates ranged from 4.57 for Cuban mothers to 8.18 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. Infants born at the lowest birthweights and gestational ages have a large impact on overall U.S. infant mortality. Nearly one-half (49 percent) of all infant deaths in the U.S. in 2003 occurred to the 0.8 percent of infants whose birthweight was less than 1,000 grams. The three leading causes of infant death—Congenital malformations, low birthweight, and SIDS — take
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