In 2009, 315 babies in Arkansas died before their first birthday. African American babies accounted for 33 percent of the total deaths, even though they accounted for only 20 percent of the total births.
September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, a campaign sponsored by the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA), a partner organization with the CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) Survey program. One of the goals of the PRAMS survey is to provide individual states with information to help reduce infant mortality rates. During September, the Arkansas Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System Survey program, the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Family Health Branch will focus on increasing the awareness of the high rate of infant mortality in Arkansas.
The Infant Mortality Rate, used to measure infant mortality, is the number of deaths in the first year of life per 1,000 live births in the same year. The Infant Mortality Rate is a commonly accepted measure of the general health and well-being of a population.
Reducing the infant mortality rate is one of our top priorities. Arkansas has historically had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S. In 2009, the infant mortality rate for Arkansas overall was 7.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. For African Americans, it was 12.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The Healthy People 2020 target rate is 6.0.