The infant mortality rates in the United States presented a significant decrease and reached a new low mark, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report published Tuesday showed a considerable drop of 15 percent in the last 12 years.

The survey established that per every 1,000 live births in 2014, there were 5.82 reported infant deaths, which represents a 15 percent decrease when compared to data from 2005, which marked 6.86 infant deaths per every 1,000 live births. Another statistic that presented a decrease was the Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which showed a drop of almost 30 percent in the studied period.

Black infant
The report author, TJ Matthews, said that the numbers that the study proved are only the consequences of a huge success of the public health care services across the country. Image credit:

The statistics published by the CDC showed how four out of the five leading causes of death among infants also declined in the period between 2005 and 2014.

The primary cause of infant deaths in the country is congenital malformations, while the second leader is deaths resulting from short gestation and low birthweight. The first cause presented a decline of more than 11 percent, and the second cause showed a decrease of almost 9 percent, according to the CDC report.

The analysis also showed an increase in one of the primary death causes among infants. Unintentional injuries rose about 11 percent when compared to 2005 numbers, as the data published was of 29.2 infant deaths per 100,000 in 2014 after being 26.2 per 100,000 in 2005.

Matthews, a demographer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, explained that 33 states in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia presented significant decreases overall. He explained that those states that had the highest rates, like Mississippi and South Carolina, were the ones that showed the most significant decreases. Other states that presented significant declines were Connecticut, Colorado, and Vermont.

National inequities

In the past investigations concerning this issue, the numbers have shown a considerable racial gap between some population groups. The non-Hispanic black citizens’ group presents an infant mortality rate of more than double than the one registered among non-Hispanic white Americans.

“It’s good news, but on the other hand, we have so much more to do,” Dr. Paul Jarris, chief medical officer for the March of Dimes, told CNN this Tuesday. “What is concerning, though, is that the inequities between non-Hispanic blacks and American Indians and the Caucasian population have persisted.”

The Asian and Pacific Islander populations presented the most significant drops among racial groups, with declines of 21 percent. In this matter, almost all racial groups showed decreases in its mortality numbers, with the only exceptions being Native Americans and Alaska Natives. In those cases, there was not any considerable statistic variation. Cuban descent had the lowest mortality rates among Hispanic with 3.95 per 1,000 newborns, while Puerto Ricans had the highest cipher with 6.68 per 1,000.

Even after those declines, the racial gap is still important. The analysis showed sharp decreases among babies born from non-Hispanic black women, and even then the gap between this group and non-Hispanic white babies is considerable.

“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,” said report author T.J. Mathews to CNN. “We know that there have been a lot of efforts across the country in cities and states where they’re trying to figure out ways where they can lower the infant mortality rate.”

American infant mortality rates are not as good as worldwide 

Even when the data published by the CDC does not show high rates concerning infant mortality, there is a significant difference between the United States’ numbers and those of other peer countries in the world. There are more chances for a baby that is born in Europe to celebrate its first birthday than if they are American.

In fact, according to 2010 statistics, there was twice the possibility for a child to die in the U.S. in its first year of life than it was in countries like Portugal, Japan or the Czech Republic. However, specialists say, the numbers published by the CDC this Tuesday must be observed with joy as public health care services seem to function as expected, at least regarding this particular problem.

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None of the states of the country presented statistically considerable augments regarding infant death rates. Image credit:

Even when the actual rates of infant mortality in the U.S. are higher than in most European countries, a 15 percent decrease in less than ten years is quite a remarkable achievement.

Dr. Jarris has talked about the specific reasons for this decrease and he said that some states have a strong relation with the federal Department of Health and Medicaid assistance services that provide the accurate attention oriented to the reduction of infant deaths.

Source: Slate