HYATTSVILLE, Md., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. infant mortality rate continued to worsen, dropping to 29th in the world in 2004, from 27th in 2000 and 12th in 1960, national health officials say.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics says the U.S. infant mortality rate -- an indicator of the health of the country -- was 6.78 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004, the latest year data are available for all countries.
In comparison, infant mortality rates were generally lowest -- below 3.5 per 1,000 -- in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The findings used data collected through the National Vital Statistics System.
The report says the U.S. infant mortality rate did not decline from 2000 to 2005, but preliminary data show a significant 2 percent decline between 2005 and 2006.
The current U.S. infant mortality rate is about 50 percent higher than the national goal of 4.5 infant deaths per 1,000 births, the report says.
The infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic black women was 2.4 times the rate for non-Hispanic white women. In 2005, the infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic black women was 13.63 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to a rate of 5.76 for non-Hispanic white women.