Infant mortality, birth rates down

Californians aren’t reproducing like they used to

The infant-mortality rate in California has reached an unprecedented low, and the state’s birth rate has dipped to a level not seen since the Great Depression.

In 2009, California hospitals saw 4.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births, according to media sources. The previous low was recorded in 2006, with a rate of 5 deaths per 1,000 live births. Racial disparities remain, as the mortality rate for blacks lowered from 12.1 to 10.6 deaths per 1,000 live births from 2008 to 2009.

California’s birth rate in 2009 was 13.7 per 1,000 residents, the lowest recorded level since 1935. The state’s women gave birth at a rate that would translate to less than two births in their lifespan. The low birth rate could be a result of the troubled economy, as couples are more hesitant to have children in uncertain financial times.