TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports the Kansas Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) held steady in 2016, at 5.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, with the lowest number infant deaths (223) ever reported in Kansas. This rate remained unchanged from 5.9 per 1,000 live births (230 infant deaths) in 2015.

The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) reflects the health and well-being of a nation or state. The U.S. rate is 6.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The Kansas IMR of 5.9 is below the Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) target of 6.0. Healthy People 2020 is a 10-year program from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of HHS.

“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is committed to working with our partners to reduce infant mortality and disparities in infant mortality. Together with community partners, we have continued to maintain the lowest ever recorded infant mortality rate for our State through applied research and community intervention,” said Susan Mosier, MD, MBA, FACS, Secretary of KDHE and State Health Officer.

The White non-Hispanic population IMR (5.2) and the Hispanic IMR (5.1) also met the HP2020 target while the Black non-Hispanic (15.2) rate did not.

For Kansas in 2016, the White non-Hispanic population group had the highest number of infant deaths (139 infant deaths), while the Black non-Hispanic group had the highest rate (15.2 per 1,000 live births). The disparity in rates between White and Black non-Hispanic infant deaths was evident in all periods of death.

In the last century, the Kansas infant mortality rate (IMR) has decreased dramatically, from 73.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1912 (2,795 infant deaths) to 5.9 in 2016 (223).

“Even though we have reached our lowest number of infant deaths ever reported, we are not done. We will continue to work with our partners to further decrease infant mortality and disparities in infant mortality,” said Dr. Mosier.

One way KDHE helps at-risk communities is through the Healthy Start Home Visitor Services. Maternal and Child Health Grants are provided to local health departments so they can provide outreach visits to pregnant women and families with newborns. Under public health nurse supervision, visitors provide in-home interventions such as education, support and referrals to other community services.

The Selected Special Statistics, Stillbirths and Infant Deaths, Kansas, 2016 summarizes vital records data on stillbirths and infant deaths. This report is attached and will be posted at