Over 23,000 infants died in the United States in 2014. The loss of a baby takes a serious toll on the health and well-being of families, as well as the nation.

The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths that occur for every 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator to measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also impact the mortality rate of infants. There are significant differences in infant mortality by race and ethnicity; for instance, the mortality rate for black infants is more than twice that of white infants.

What are the Causes?

Most newborns grow and thrive. However, for every 1,000 babies that are born, almost six die during their first year. Most of these babies die as a result of—