Infant mortality

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Why This Indicator Matters

Infant mortality is an important marker of the overall health of a society.  Structural factors affecting the health of entire populations have an impact on the mortality rate of infants. In 2017, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.9 per 1,000 live births, unchanged from 2015. 
 The most common causes of death in the United States in 2011 were the following: birth defects, preterm birth and low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), pregnancy complications and accidents. FMI: National Institutes of health, Infant mortality causes in the US.

What the data shows
According to the CDC, in 2016, Maine had a higher infant mortality rate than all of the other New England states and 20th overall, with Vermont being number 1 with the lowest infant mortality rate. 

In terms of trends, infant mortality statewide was lowest for the five year period ending in 2000 and ending in 2003 at 5.0. Since 2003, infant mortality has generally been on an upward trend, particularly between 2011-2015, when the rate increased each year.

After increasing infant mortality rates between 2010-2015, there has been a decline in each of the last 2 years, 2016 & 2017, all based on 5-year averages.

For the most recent 5 year period, the counties with the highest infant mortality rates were Aroostook and Piscataquis County with 5-yr rates per 1,000 births of 9.7 and 8.7 respectively or nearly 1 out of 100 births in Aroostook County resulting in an infant who lives 1 year or less. The counties with the lowest rates per 1,000 births, based on 5-year averages were Oxford (4.7) and Hancock (5.1).

Updated August 2018

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