November 17, 2022

State of Alabama
Press Release: Public Health, Alabama Department of

Alabama’s infant mortality rate for 2021 announced


CONTACT: Carolyn Miller, (334) 206-2959
Statistical Analysis Division, Center for Health Statistics, (334) 206-5429

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announces the 2021 Alabama infant mortality rate is 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, with 443 infants dying during their first year of life. The state’s infant mortality for 2021 is an 8.6 percent increase over the 7.0 rate of 2020. Alabama's infant mortality rate, however, remains higher than the U.S. rate for 2021, which is provisionally 5.5. Infant deaths, fetal deaths, live births and estimated pregnancies all increased in Alabama from 2020 to 2021.

Black mothers continue to have the highest infant mortality rate in the state. In 2021, the rate increased to 12.1 from the 2020 rate of 10.9. The infant mortality rate for white mothers was 5.8, an increase from 5.2 in 2020. The infant mortality rate declined among Hispanic mothers from 7.2 (37 infant deaths) in 2020 to 5.2 (29 infant deaths) in 2021.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, "While there were several positive indicators of progress in 2021, decreasing infant mortality remains a significant challenge. Infant mortality is closely related to social determinants of health, such as race, poverty and education. Alabama must continue our commitment and efforts to prevent infant deaths by promoting evidence-based initiatives such as home visiting nurses to first-time mothers and high-risk pregnancies, safe sleep education, and the 'Count the Kicks' campaign."

Regarding births to Alabama residents, the number of live births overall increased from 57,643 in 2020 to 58,040 in 2021. Although births to mothers in the Black and Other racial category decreased from 20,151 in 2020 to 19,170 in 2021, births to white mothers increased from 37,492 in 2020 to 38,870 in 2021. The 5,598 births to Hispanic mothers in 2021 were the highest seen among the ethnic category in the past decade.

Other trends regarding births and pregnancies in 2021 are as follows:

  • The percentages of low weight births decreased from 10.8 to 10.5, while the percentages of births at less than 37 weeks of gestation and births with a birth interval less than 2 years increased in 2021.
  • The percentage of births with no prenatal care decreased from 2.6 percent to 2.2 percent. For births with no prenatal care, 52.5 percent were to white mothers, 52.4 percent were to mothers aged 20-29, and 74.7 percent were paid by Medicaid.
  • Overall births to teenagers continue to decline; however, the percentage of births to Black teen mothers slightly increased in 2021, from 8.3 to 8.5.
  • The percentage of births with maternal smoking was 6.1 in 2021, the lowest percentage recorded.

Graphs and detailed charts are available at the ADPH website at



County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.

Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health

Vision: Healthy People. Healthy Communities. Healthy Alabama.

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