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Baby Deaths Drop In California

Aired 5/22/12 on KPBS News.

New state figures show fewer deaths among infants under the age of one.

Newly released data show California’s infant mortality rate is at an historic low.

The most recent figures available for the year 2010 show the rate dropped two-tenths of a percent. That’s 4.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

Doctor Ron Chapman heads the state Department of Public Health which released the numbers. He says fewer African American babies are dying but disparities persist. “The largest decline in infant mortality is amongst African Americans in California. And that went from 10.6 in 2009 to 9.5 in 2010. Unfortunately, the rate continues to be over two-times greater than Caucasian infants.”

The infant mortality rate among Caucasians remained unchanged at 4.1 deaths per 1,000 babies under the age of one.

Chapman attributes the lower mortality rates to better prenatal care.

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