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Preterm Births and Infant Deaths

Preterm birth, or premature birth (live birth before 37 weeks gestations), and infant deaths are important indicators of maternal, infant, and child health. Babies born preterm are at increased risk of immediate and long-term complications, as well as death.1 More infants die from preterm-related problems than from any other cause, yet nearly half of a million babies in the United States—that’s 1 out of every 9—are born premature each year.2

Related Disparities

Preterm Birth Rate by Race/Ethnicity

The proportion of preterm live births delivered to black, non-Hispanic mothers was 17.1 percent in 2010, more than one and a half times the rate experienced by Asian or Pacific Islander mothers.

17.1% Black, non-Hispanic mothers
13.6% American Indian or Alaska Native mothers
11.8% Hispanic mothers
10.8% White, non-Hispanic mothers
10.7% Asian or Pacific Islander mothers


Preterm Births

In 2010, 12.0% of live births were preterm
12.0% 2010
11.4% 2020 Target
5.0% Decrease needed

Infant Deaths

In 2009, there were 6.4 infant deaths under 1 year per 1,000 live births

6.4% 2009
6.0% 2020 Target
6.3% Decrease needed