The Public Interest

America’s infant-mortality puzzle

Nicholas Eberstadt

Fall 1991

DURING THE 1980s, America’s infant-mortality rate (the number of children per thousand born who die in their first year of life) became a focus of increased attention, commentary, and public concern. Though the U.S. infant-mortality rate has declined steadily over the past several decades, dropping most recently from 12.6 in 1980 to 9.1 in 1990, America still has an unusually high rate in comparison with other countries.

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