U.S. infant mortality rate down 15 percent in last decade

The largest decline was among Asian and Pacific Islander populations at 21 percent decline, though all groups showed significant decline in a new report from the CDC.
By Amy Wallace  |  March 21, 2017 at 12:18 PM
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March 21 (UPI) -- A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, shows a significant decline in infant mortality rates of 15 percent in the United States.

According to the CDC, infant mortality rates declined from 6.86 deaths per 1,000 live births to 5.82 deaths per 1,000 live births between 2005 and 2014. The rate of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, also declined 29 percent in the United States.

Researchers found declines across all racial groups, with the largest decline of 21 percent in Asian and Pacific Islander populations -- aside from American Indians and Alaska Natives, where the declines were not statistically significant.

Infant mortality dropped 20 percent among non-Hispanic black women, dropped 19 percent among Cuban women and dropped 17 percent among Puerto Rican women.

The CDC also found rates of infant death declined in four of the five leading causes of infant death. Rates of death from SIDS dropped by 29 percent, death from congenital malformations declined 11 percent, death from short gestation and low birthweight declined 8 percent, and deaths from maternal complications declined 7 percent.

The report also showed infant mortality rates declined in 33 states and Washington, D.C., with 11 states and Washington, D.C. having drops of at least 16 percent. Declines of more than 20 percent were shown in Connecticut, South Carolina, Colorado and Washington, D.C.

Researchers point to the push to end medically unnecessary labor induction as one of the possible causes of the decline in infant mortality rates, in addition to advances in care for infants born early or with a low birthweight and an overall push to improve the national rates.

"The largest contributor to this decrease in infant mortality has been that these very small infants have been more likely to survive," Robert Yanity, public information officer for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, told STAT.

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