Infant Mortality

What is Infant Mortality? 

Infant mortality is the death of an infant before his or her first birthday. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is the number of infant deaths before one year for every 1,000 live births.

CLICK HERE to read the Infant Mortality Prevention Toolkit developed by NICHQ and IM CoIIN

The problem of Infant Mortality in Worcester Today

Infant mortality is not simply a medical problem but rather a reflection of a city’s overall health, including its economic health. In spite of progress, Worcester has a persistently higher infant mortality rate (IMR) than similar cities in MA, with persistent racial/ethnic disparities in infant mortality.

Worcester’s high IMR occurs in the setting of excellent access to health care and nationally-recognized neonatal care services. Poverty, lack of educational attainment, and perceptions of racism among Worcester’s immigrant and disadvantaged communities are important factors in Worcester’s high IMR.


Reducing infant mortality requires addressing the social determinants of health through programs that reduce poverty, provide access to safe housing, and improve educational achievement among at-risk populations.

The graph at the bottom of this page shows a “3-Year Rolling Average” for infant mortality rates in Worcester and Massachusetts since 1992.

Although the rate of Worcester infant mortality is declining with that of Massachusetts and the nation as a whole, Worcester’s Infant Mortality Rate remains higher than the state’s, and significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in Worcester that are not as evident in the rest of the state.

Worcester showed an unofficial IMR of 5.2 per 1,000 in 2013-5 compared to Massachusetts’ 2013 rate of 4.15 per 1,000.


WHBC Reports on Infant Mortality by Year

The WHBC members have worked to compile reports to monitor and explore the issue of infant mortality in Worcester. We are currently in the works for a 2020 City Council Report. You can click on a number of previous reports below to learn more about this work: