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Texas is one of four states whose infant mortality rates rose in 2022, report says


New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Texas was one of four states, along with Georgia, Iowa and Missouri, whose infant mortality rate rose from 2021 to 2022.

More than 2,200 babies died before their first birthday in Texas in 2022. Texas' infant mortality rate, 5.72 deaths per 1,000 births, was slightly above the national rate of 5.6 per 1,000 births.

Infant deaths also increased overall in the United States for the first time in about 20 years.

Birth defects, low birthweight and pregnancy complications are some of the reasons for these deaths.

Researchers use infant mortality data to measure maternal and community health outcomes.

Often, high maternal mortality and infant mortality rates signal a lack of access to preventive services, prenatal care and affordable health care.

The CDC’s data also shows racial disparities in these deaths: Black, American Indian and Alaska Native babies died at much higher rates than other groups.

This mirrors maternal mortality and morbidity data showing Black pregnant people are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication, like severe bleeding or high blood pressure, than their white counterparts.

Texas lawmakers passed legislation this year to extend health care coverage for new parents on Medicaid, since the state is among the worst in the nation for maternal mortality. But the law still must be approved federally before it can go into effect in Texas.

The data from the CDC informs local and state policy to improve health outcomes for families and kids.

Got a tip? Email Elena Rivera at

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Updated: November 8, 2023 at 2:16 PM CST
This story has been updated to clarify data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Elena Rivera is the health reporter at KERA. Before moving to Dallas, Elena covered health in Southern Colorado for KRCC and Colorado Public Radio. Her stories covered pandemic mental health support, rural community health access issues and vaccine equity across the region.