The Infant Mortality Rate Dropped in the U.S., But Racial Inequities Remain

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According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infant mortality rates in the U.S. have declined 15 percent, reports CNN. Troublingly, the report also reveals inequities across the racial spectrum.

Overall, the U.S.’s infant mortality rate dropped from 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births to 5.82 from 2005 to 2014. But the change in infant mortality rates differed depending on race: American Indians and Native Alaskans saw about the same rate of infant deaths, for example, while Asians and Pacific Islanders saw the most significant drop — 21 percent. Some differences are especially stark when compared. Per CNN: “Infants born to non-Hispanic black women have a mortality rate more than double that of non-Hispanic white women.”

The report’s author, T.J. Matthews, told CNN, “I think there was a public-health push in the past decade to figure out ways to lower this rate, and it has made an impact.” Cases of sudden infant-death syndrome, for example, fell by 29 percent.

Dr. Paul Jarris, chief medical officer for the March of Dimes, described the report to CNN as “good news,” adding that more work must be done to improve the rate. “What is concerning, though,” he said, “is that the inequities between non-Hispanic blacks and American Indians and the Caucasian population have persisted.”

Black Infants Have a Mortality Rate Two Times White Infants’