- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - State health officials say North Carolina’s infant mortality rate in 2013 matches the rate three years ago as the lowest ever.

The Public Health Division of the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday the rate for 2013 was 7.0 per 1,000 live births.

The division said Hispanic and African American non-Hispanic populations showed the largest decreases of 11.9 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. The African American non-Hispanic infant mortality rate of 12.5 per 1,000 births is the lowest in state history. However, the division says a racial disparity remains as African American non-Hispanic populations have an infant mortality rate 2.3 times higher than the White non-Hispanic population.

Also, the division said deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome were down 18 percent since 2012 and 54 percent since 2011.

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