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INFANT MORTALITY FALLS TO ALL-TIME LOW, BUT LIFE-EXPECTANCY DROPS

SHARE INFANT MORTALITY FALLS TO ALL-TIME LOW, BUT LIFE-EXPECTANCY DROPS

Infant mortality in the United States reached an all-time low last year, but deaths from a flu epidemic and other respiratory illnesses also depressed life expectancy for newborns, the government said.

Babies born in 1993 were expected to live 75.5 years, down from 1992's all-time high of 75.8 years, according to provisional figures Thursday from the National Center for Health Statistics.A report in the Journal Pediatrics said that one in every five women was childless in 1992, up sharply from one in nine in the 1970s.

The number of marriages in 1993 was the smallest since 1979. Dr. Myron E. Wegman of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the author of the article, said more couples appear to be living together.

The infant mortality rate fell to 8.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1993, a decline from 8.5 deaths per 1,000 the year before.