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Rochester's infant death rate among nation's worst

Monroe County's infant death rate is among the worst in the nation, and advocates say the elevated rate is driven by deaths in inner-city Rochester neighborhoods plagued by crime and poverty.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Monroe County's infant death rate is among the worst in the nation, and advocates say the elevated rate is driven by deaths in inner-city Rochester neighborhoods plagued by crime and poverty.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that the infant death rate in Monroe County stands at 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, a point above the national average and two points above the state average.

The death rate for black babies is far worse at 14.2 per 1,000, three times the rate of 4.2 for white infants.

County Public Health Director Andrew Doniger calls the racial disparity troubling. Studies show that poverty, low education and smoking don't fully explain the racial gap. Researchers are now looking at chronic stress as a contributing factor in pre-term births.
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