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Infant Mortality Rate in the U.S. is at a New Low

Update Date: Dec 09, 2015 10:36 AM EST

The number of infants who die every year in the United States fell to a new low in 2014, new federal data revealed.

According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infant mortality rates dropped by 2.3 percent from 596.1 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013 to 582.1 per 100,000 in 2014.

"This is potentially the best news we've had yet," said T. J. Mathews, a demographer at the C.D.C, who was not involved with compiling this report, reported by the New York Times.

The researchers could not pinpoint the factors that could be driving the rate down, but they did find a decline by 14 percent in respiratory distress, which occurs when premature babies have problems with their breathing. Despite the decline, experts noted that the overall rate of infant death is still relatively high when compared to the rates calculated in other countries.

The report found that life expectancy has remained at around 78 years and 9½ months for the third straight year. The experts do not know why the rate is not increasing but they believe that suicides and drug abuse could be two contributing factors.

In estimating life expectancy, the experts looked at the death certificates in 2014 and found a total of 2.6 million deaths.

In terms of diseases, the top 10 killers, which include heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, flu/pneumonia, kidney disease, suicide, accidents, and unintentional injuries, remained constant. Deaths related to heart disease and cancer fell while deaths from Alzheimer's increased the most by eight percent.

According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. is currently ranked No. 34 in life expectancy based on 2013 data.

For more information on the report, click here.

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