Drop In Infant Mortality Rate

The 2006 figures on infant mortalities came out on April 30, 2010, and show that seven U.S. infants out of every 1,000 born had died, reflecting a 3% drop from 2005 figures. According to health officials, this is the lowest rate for U.S. infant mortality since 1995.

While the decline in infant deaths is considered significant, the U.S. still has one of the worst infant mortality rates, ranking near the bottom of 32 other industrialized nations for infant deaths. This is according to the newest report issues by the National Center for Health Statistics, a subdivision of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Good News

Lead author of the report, T.J. Mathews, who works as a demographer for the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics comments, "Clearly the decline from 2005 to 2006 is significant and is good news. [But] An infant mortality rate at that level is still too high."

Mathews says our world ranking in infant deaths will now stand somewhere around 28th on the roster of industrialized nations. During 2006, the infant mortality rate stood at 6.68 deaths per every 1,000 births. This represents a 3% drop from the previous year, 2005. In 1995, the rate of infant mortality was 7.57 deaths in every 1,000 births, said Mathews.

Mathews adds that there are huge differences between the various populations of the U.S. that appear to be a factor in the higher rate of infant mortality in these groups, such as ethnicity and race. According to the NCHS figures, infant deaths stood at 4.52 in 1,000 births for babies born to mothers of South and Central American heritage, whereas, the highest rate of infant mortality was seen in babies born to black mothers with a high of 13.35 deaths in every 1,000 babies. In white women, infant deaths stood at 5.73 in 1,000 births.

Single Mothers

The mortality rates for infants from mothers born in the U.S, single mothers, or multiple deliveries were higher. Infant deaths were also more common among boys and infants with low birth weights.

The rate of deaths among newborns hovered at the same rate seen in 2005, at 4.46 compared to 4.54. On the other hand, there were fewer babies who died past early infancy. This figure dropped 4% from 2.32 in 2005 to 2.22 a year later. 

In the United States, infant deaths tend to occur as a response to premature delivery and low birth weights. In 2006, for example, 54% of all infant deaths took place among the only 2% of all babies born before 32 weeks gestation. 

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