Shelby County infant survival improving

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The infant mortality rate in Shelby County has improved to the lowest on record.

The rate of deaths among infants during the year 2011 was 9.6 per 1,000 births -- the first time the figure has been below 10 per 1,000.

Shelby County Health Department Director Yvonne Madlock told The Commercial Appeal it's a stubborn statistic to move, but it has declined by 35 percent since 2003, when 14.9 infants per 1,000 didn't survive their first year.

Officials say advances in public health policy have helped.

Statistics show that in 1930, nearly 10 percent of babies born in Shelby County did not have a first birthday. The mortality rate was 98.9 per 1,000.

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