This report presents maternal mortality rates for 2021 based on data from the National Vital Statistics System. A maternal death is defined by the World Health Organization as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes” (1). Maternal mortality rates, which are the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, are shown in this report by age group and race and Hispanic origin.
This report updates a previous one that showed maternal mortality rates for 2018–2020 (2). In 2021, 1,205 women died of maternal causes in the United States compared with 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019 (2). The maternal mortality rate for 2021 was 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019 (Table).
In 2021, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black (subsequently, Black) women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for non-Hispanic White (subsequently, White) women (26.6) (Figure 1 and Table). Rates for Black women were significantly higher than rates for White and Hispanic women. The increases from 2020 to 2021 for all race and Hispanic-origin groups were significant.
Rates increased with maternal age. Rates in 2021 were 20.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for women under age 25, 31.3 for those aged 25–39, and 138.5 for those aged 40 and over (Figure 2 and Table). The rate for women aged 40 and over was 6.8 times higher than the rate for women under age 25. Differences in the rates between age groups were statistically significant. The increases in the rates between 2020 and 2021 for each of these age groups were statistically significant.