NC infant death rate, number of births increase

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina officials say the state's infant mortality rate increased 5 percent in 2007, one year after falling to its lowest level in state history.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that North Carolina's infant death rate inched up to an average 8.5 deaths per 1,000 babies born as compared to 8.1 in 2006. The mortality rate for minority infants remains more than double that of white infants.

State officials said mothers' drug use, insurance and health condition can affect their babies.

National studies indicate North Carolina still has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, even though the rate has decreased over the last 30 years.

The statistics also showed a record 130,886 births were recorded in 2007.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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