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Health Indicator Report of Infant Mortality

The infant death rate is an important measure of a nation's health and a worldwide indicator of health status and social well-being. It is a critical indicator of the health of a population. The top four causes of infant mortality in Utah include birth defects, medical conditions of the infants, conditions in the perinatal period (includes disorders related to short gestation or preterm birth and can reflect the overall state of maternal health, as well as the quality and accessibility of primary health care for pregnant women), and sudden unexpected infant death (formerly called Sudden Infant Death, now commonly referred to as Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, or SUID; many of these are related to sleep environments which are unsafe for infants). These four causes historically account for the greatest number of infant deaths in Utah; their proportions fluctuate somewhat from year to year.

Infant Mortality: Deaths at Under 1 Year of Age, Utah and U.S., 1980-2013


U.S. figures from NCHS Data Brief No. 168, Oct 2014.

Data Sources

  • Utah Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Number of infants who died before their first birthday (under 365 days), after being born alive, per 1,000 live births.


Number of infants who died prior to their first birthday.


Number of live births.

Healthy People Objective MICH-1.3:

All infant deaths (within 1 year)
U.S. Target: 6.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births
State Target: 4.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births

Other Objectives

Utah's 42 Community Health Indicators Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Division of Family Health and Preparedness: Decrease the disparity between the Black and Native American infant mortality rates and the White infant mortality rate.

How Are We Doing?

The infant mortality rate has been declining throughout the past 20 years both locally and nationally. Despite this decline, the problem of infant mortality remains substantial. During 2013, 262 Utah infants died during their first year of life, each death representing a tragedy for parents, siblings, and other family members. In Utah, although the infant mortality rate is lower than the nation's, the average rate of preterm birth is 9.6% of all live births for the past ten years. Nationwide, the percent of preterm live births in 2013 was 11.39% (NCHS Data Brief No. 175, Dec 2014), which was 1% lower than in 2012, and 11% lower than the peak of preterm births in 2006.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Historically, Utah's infant mortality rate has been better than the nation's (UT: 4.82 per 1,000 in 2012). The U.S. rate in 2012 was 5.98 per 1,000 live births, which is a historic low (NCHS Data Brief No. 168, Oct 2014). U.S. vs. Other Countries: According to a 2014 National Vital Statistics Report (International Comparisons of Infant Mortality and Related Factors: United States and Europe, 2010; vol 63, no. 5), the U.S. ranked last below 21 European countries (including Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) in infant mortality. The U.S. rate was 6.1 in this ranking which was data year 2010. The U.S. also ranks below the Czech Republic, Korea, and Israel in this list.

What Is Being Done?

Improvements in early obstetric intervention and perinatal and postneonatal care have been linked to this decline in infant mortality. However, there still remain significant disparities among various racial/ethnic groups. The UDOH Maternal and Infant Health Program is currently 1) reviewing data obtained from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and the Perinatal Mortality Review Program (PMRP) to identify modifiable risk factors for infant mortality and develop appropriate interventions; 2) making health information available on-line for researchers, students, health care professionals, and the general public to increase awareness of factors associated with infant death (i.e. the Indicator Based Information System (IBIS) and the Maternal and Infant Health Program websites); 3) educating prenatal health care providers to help pregnant clients cease smoking to reduce the postneonatal mortality rate and reduce low birth weight births which contribute to neonatal mortality; 4) promoting preconception and interconception health care for all women of childbearing age, with special emphasis on attaining and maintaining healthy weight; 5) working with community partners and health professionals to disseminate information on 17P, a newer drug to help prevent recurrent preterm birth; and 6) collaborating with the Office of Health Disparities Reduction on targeted interventions toward decreasing infant mortality in disparate populations. In addition, the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality was launched nationwide in 2014. The CoIIN is a multi-year national movement engaging federal, state, and local leaders; public and private agencies; professionals; and communities to employ quality improvement, innovation, and collaborative learning to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes. The CoIIN has identified six strategy areas that it will focus on: SIDS/SUID/safe sleep, smoking cessation, preconception/interconception care, social determinants of health, prevention of preterm and early term births, and risk-appropriate perinatal care (perinatal regionalization). Utah will be focusing on preconception/interconception care and prevention of preterm and early term births.

Evidence-based Practices

In the past year, the Utah Department of Health has participated in establishing a statewide perinatal quality collaborative called Utah Women and Newborn Quality Collaborative (UWNQC). This workgroup of clinicians and public health professionals engages in development and measurement of health care quality indicators and quality improvement projects in the areas of maternal and neonatal health issues. There are a number of other states engaged in such collaboratives, including Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, California, and Tennessee. UWNQC is currently working on decreasing preterm birth, tracking neonatal abstinence syndrome, and issues impacting out-of-hospital birth in Utah.

Available Services

The Maternal and Infant Health Program encourages health care providers to assess for risk factors associated with infant mortality.

Health Program Information

Infant mortality may be reduced by breastfeeding. The Utah Collaboration for Advancing the "Ten Steps" (UCATS) Stepping Up Program was developed by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and partners to recognize Utah hospitals that have taken steps to promote, protect, educate, and encourage breastfeeding in their facilities. Using a learning collaborative model, hospitals can implement 2, 4, 6, 8, or all 10 of the evidence-based steps to successful breastfeeding identified by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. ( A tool kit was adapted and developed outlining best practices, resources, action plans, and barriers to implementing each of the steps. Hospitals that successfully implement each two step interval (up to 10 steps) will be certified by UDOH and recognized through media and public celebrations.
Page Content Updated On 07/23/2015, Published on 07/24/2015
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 30 November 2015 17:16:26 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:46:16 MDT