Lifestyle & Belief

Infant mortality rate declines in US after years of no change


The infant mortality rate in the United States has declined 12 percent in the last eight years, after plateauing for more than a decade.


Adek Berry

Infant mortality in the United States has declined 12 percent in the last eight years, according to new statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The infant mortality rate had declined throughout the last century but began to plateau in the last decade or so.

In 2011, there were 6.05 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

That number is down from 6.87 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005.

The CDC report said that it was the steepest decline for infants born to black women.

The decline was also most prominent in southern states, like Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Researchers still think the infant mortality rate in the US is too high - far worse than most European countries, Canada, Australia and Singapore.

"Even though we do have a decline, preterm birth rates are much higher than in other countries, and the same is true with infant mortality," said Marian MacDorman, a statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

They say the black and white divide in infant mortality is also troubling in the US.

In addition, there is still a gap in mortality rates between infants born to black and white mothers.

The findings were published in the April issue of the NCHS Data Brief.