US Infant Mortality Rate Decline Stalls

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The nearly 10-year decline in U.S. infant mortality rates has stalled and disparities between black and white infant mortality persist, according to CDC data, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the data, black infants are 2.4 times more likely to die before age one than white infants.

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In 2005, 13.26 black infants died per 1,000 live births, which is similar to the rate in some developing nations, the Journal reports. Among white infants, the mortality rate increased slightly to 5.73 deaths per 1,000 live births, up from 5.66 deaths in 2004, according to the data. Overall, the U.S. infant mortality rate increased from 6.78 deaths per 1,000 births in 2004 to 6.86 deaths per 1,000 births in 2005. According to the Journal, infant mortality rates had "steady declines" in the 1990s and early 2000s, particularly among white infants.

CDC officials say the higher rates in large part can be attributed to low birthweights, shorter gestation periods and premature births. Experts say that it is difficult to identify a link between race and higher infant mortality but noted that higher rates of poverty, limited access to health care and dietary differences are possible contributors (Abkowitz, Wall Street Journal, 7/30).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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