Infant Mortality in Alabama

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Alabama's infant mortality rate in 2004 remains at an all-time low, but health officials said the infant death rates for white and Hispanic children increased.

The annual report on infant mortality showed that the rate of infant deaths was eight-point-seven deaths per one-thousand births, which represents 515 deaths in the first year of life.

In 2003, the rate was the same with 519 deaths. The national rate for 2004 was six-point-six.

State Health Officer Donald Williamson said health officials are trying to pinpoint why the white rate went up, but he suspects that higher rate of smoking and multiple births from fertility treatments played a role.

He said the Hispanic rate may have increased because of the growing population and lack of adequate access to prenatal care brought on by language barriers.

Hale County had the highest infant mortality rate in 2004, 27.8 deaths per 1,000 births. That number is skewed because of the county's small population and the low number of births in the area. Six infants died in Hale County in 2004.

Jefferson County had the greatest number of infant deaths at 91, three fewer than in 2003.