US infant mortality rate hits a new low

In uplifting news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on Tuesday revealing the rate of infant death has improved between 2005–2014.

Infant mortality is defined as a death of a live-born infant before his or her first birthday, and is cited as a “basic measure” for a nation’s public health.

In 2005, infant mortality persisted at 6.86 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births; by 2014, data revealed the number dropped to 5.83 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Statistics illustrate a 15 percent drop in the decade studied.

“Overall, 33 states and the District of Columbia had significant declines.  Some states with fairly high rates, such as South Carolina and Mississippi, are in those categories where they had some of the sharpest declines,” said the author of the report, T.J. Matthews.

Highlights from the study include:  The leading cause of infant deaths, congenital malformations, dropped 11 percent; a second leading cause of infant deaths, short gestation and low birthweight, declined eight percent; sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) dropped sharply, 29 percent; and rates for maternal complications and unintentional injuries were reduced 7 and 11 percent.

In the report’s summary, authors Matthews and Anne Driscoll concluded infant mortality dropped in two-thirds of all states monitored and in every racial and ethnic category with the exception of American Indian or Alaska Native.

Furthermore, in the time period 2005–’14, the highest infant mortality rates persisted within non-Hispanic black females; the lowest rates were in the Asian or Pacific Islander; and in the Hispanic demographic, women of Puerto Rican heritage suffered the highest infant-mortality rates.

The report concluded no discernible changes in infant-mortality rates emerged over the past year. States with the sharpest rate of decline since 2005 include Virginia, Tennessee, Connecticut, Colorado, and Idaho.


[The Hill] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Mercy Medical Center]