Clinical Edge

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Infant and Youth Mortality Rates Declining in US

JAMA Pediatrics; ePub 2018 Oct 1; Khan, et al

Mortality rates in the US have generally declined for infants and youths from 1999 to 2015 owing to reductions in sudden infant death syndrome, unintentional injury death, and homicides, a recent study found. However, US mortality rates remain higher than Canada and England/Wales, with particularly elevated rates among black and American Indian/Alaskan Native youth. Furthermore, there is a concerning increase in suicide and drug poisoning death rates among US adolescents and young adults. This study analyzed death certificate data from the US, Canada, and the UK for all deaths among individuals aged <25 years. Key highlights include:

  • Among individuals from birth to age 24 years, 1,169,537 deaths occurred in the US, 80,540 in Canada, and 121,183 in England/Wales from 1999 to 2015.
  • In the US, 64% of deaths occurred in male individuals and 52.6% occurred in white individuals (25.1% deaths occurred in black individuals and 17.9% in Latino individuals).
  • All-cause mortality declined for all age groups in the US, Canada, and England/Wales from 1999 to 2015. However, rates were highest in the US.


Khan SQ, Berrington de Gonzalez A, Best AF, et al. Infant and youth mortality trends by race/ethnicity and cause of death in the United States. [Published online ahead of print October 1, 2018]. JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.3317.

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