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CDC: U.S. Infant Mortality Rate at Historic Low

But American infants still die at rates that are higher than other affluent countries

THURSDAY, Aug. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The number of U.S. infants who die before their first birthday continues to decline and is at a historic low, health officials reported Thursday. The findings were published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aug. 6 National Vital Statistics Report.

Between 2012 and 2013, the rate dropped only slightly, from 5.98 deaths per 1,000 births to 5.96. But that’s part of a long-term trend: Since 2005, when infant mortality stood at 6.86 per 1,000 births, the rate has fallen by 13 percent, according to the CDC. In 2013, 23,446 infants died in the United States, 208 fewer than in 2012, the researchers found.

For most groups, the infant mortality rate remained stable. However, mortality rates among Puerto Ricans and Cuban-Americans dropped significantly — 14 percent for Puerto Rican women and 40 percent for Cuban-American women. The infant mortality rate for blacks is double that of whites.

In 2013, infants born at 37 to 38 weeks of gestation had mortality rates 63 percent higher than that seen for infants born at full term, according to the report. For multiple births, the infant mortality rate was 25.84 per 1,000 births. Also in 2013, 36 percent of infant deaths were due to preterm-related causes, such as short gestation and low birth weight. Another 15 percent were due to sudden, unexpected infant death, including unspecified causes and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, the researchers said.

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