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Preterm Births and Infant Deaths

Preterm (premature) birth, which is a live birth before 37 weeks gestation, is one of the most pressing challenges to maternal, infant, and child health in the United States. Preterm babies can face lifelong disabilities and are at higher risk of death during their first few days of life. Improving birth outcomes can enable children to reach their full potential.

Preterm Births and Infant Deaths by Race and Ethnicity

The proportion of preterm live births delivered to black or African American, non-Hispanic mothers was 16.5% in 2012, more than one and a half times the rate experienced by Asian or Pacific Islander mothers (10.2%).

Rates of preterm live births by race/ethnicity:
Black or African American, non-Hispanic mothers: 16.5%
American Indian or Alaska Native mothers: 13.3% 
Hispanic mothers: 11.6%
White, non-Hispanic mothers: 10.3%
Asian or Pacific Islander mothers: 10.2%

Data source: National Vital Statistics System-Natality (NVSS-N), CDC/NCHS

Healthy People 2020 Targets

Preterm Births

In 2012, 11.5% of live births were preterm.
HP2020 Target: 11.4%.
2012: 11.5%
0.9% decrease needed

Data source: National Vital Statistics System-Natality (NVSS-N), CDC/NCHS.

Infant Deaths
In 2010, 6.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births occurred within the first year of life.
HP2020 Target: 6.0
2010: 6.1

1.6% decrease needed

Data source: Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set, CDC/NCHS.