By Naomi Spencer:
Infant mortality rates rising in US
Southern states hardest hit
3 May 2007
After declining for four decades, infant mortality rates are on the rise in the US.
The rise in infant death rates, like a multitude of other social indicators, is a manifestation of the growing inequality in the United States.
This inequality, forcing millions more Americans into poverty and extreme poverty, has been exacerbated by the erosion of the social safety net, beginning under the Clinton administration and escalated by the Bush administration and the initiatives of reactionary state governments.
The national infant mortality rate—defined as the number of children dying within their first year of life per 1,000 live births—stood at 6.9 in 2003, the latest year for which data is available.
Internationally, the US ranks at the bottom of developed countries on virtually all measures of child wellbeing, including mortality rates.
In regions with poor and especially minority populations, health outcome indicators have steadily and substantially worsened in recent years.
Particularly in the South, where infant mortality rates have long exceeded the national average, deaths have increased significantly in recent years.
In certain Southern counties, infant mortality rates are higher than 20 deaths per 1,000 live births—higher than those of Sri Lanka, Poland, and nearly 100 other countries.
Poor children in Britain: here.
A report released by the United Nations International Childhood Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reveals that worldwide, 7,000 newborns die each day. While most of the countries that ranked poorly for newborn mortality are impoverished, fragile states, extreme income inequality in a number of wealthy countries costs the lives of thousands of children each year: here.