[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 3, 1991

Do We Have the Infant Mortality Rate We Desire?

JAMA. 1991;266(1):114-115. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470010118042

WHY DO we decry the United States' infant mortality rate? Don't we have the rate we want? Sarcasm? Yes. Overstatement? No!

If we polled the nation's political and health care leaders about these questions, they would hasten to dismiss them as sheer nonsense. After all, everyone knows how tragic it is that the United States ranks behind essentially all industrialized nations in infant mortality. Furthermore, our poor standing is not just a matter of variance in reporting; we really do very poorly when compared with other, similar nations. Thus, there seems to be a clear answer to the first question, "Of course we decry the infant mortality rate, we are doing very poorly."

The second question cannot be dismissed as easily. If we do not have the rate we desire, what are we doing to change the situation? Government leaders will note that we are providing more money for underprivileged