Plurality of Birth and Infant Mortality Due to External Causes in the United States, 2000-2010

Document Type


Publication Date



infanticide, infant mortality, injury, multiple birth, twins


Risk of death during the first year of life due to external causes, such as unintentional injury and homicide, may be higher among twins and higher-order multiples than among singletons in the United States. We used national birth cohort linked birth–infant death data (2000–2010) to evaluate the risk of infant mortality due to external causes in multiples versus singletons in the United States. Risk of death from external causes during the study period was 3.6 per 10,000 live births in singletons and 5.1 per 10,000 live births in multiples. Using log-binomial regression, the corresponding unadjusted risk ratio was 1.40 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.30, 1.50). After adjustment for maternal age, marital status, race/ethnicity, and education, the risk ratio was 1.68 (95% CI: 1.56, 1.81). Infant deaths due to external causes were most likely to occur between 2 and 7 months of age. Applying inverse probability weighting and assuming a hypothetical intervention where no infants were low birth weight, the adjusted controlled direct effect of plurality on infant mortality due to external causes was 1.64 (95% CI: 1.39, 1.97). Twins and higher-order multiples were at greater risk of infant mortality due to external causes, particularly between 2 and 7 months of age, and this risk appeared to be mediated largely by factors other than low-birth-weight status.


The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the National Center for Health Statistics or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2017. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.