By Alexandra Sifferlin
August 6, 2015

New federal data reveals that the U.S. infant mortality rate has dropped very slightly in the one year since it was last measured.

The report, published by the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that in 2013 (the most recent data available) the infant mortality rate was 5.96 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. That’s slightly lower than the 2012 rate, which was 5.98. In total, the number of infant deaths in 2013 was 23,446 which was 208 deaths lower than the year before. The leading cause of death in 2013 was congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities.

The researchers note that the U.S. infant mortality rated hit a plateau that lasted from 2000 to 2005, fluctuated for a couple years, then started to decline again in 2007. The mortality rate reached a high 2005 of 6.86 per 1,000 live births; 13% higher than the 2013 rate.

Still, the study also shows great disparities in infant mortality rates exist among racial groups. The rate is highest among non-Hispanic black mothers at 11.11 per 1,000 live births. Cuban mothers had the lowest rate at 3.02, and non-Hispanic white mothers had lower rates than infants of non-Hispanic black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Puerto Rican mothers. “The disparity in the infant mortality rate between non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women has more than doubled over the past decade,” the study authors write.

Despite declines, other data from the World Bank shows the United States still has higher infant mortality rates compared to other developed countries like Norway, France and Germany.

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