New Mexico’s infant mortality rate fell 22 percent between 2012 and 2013, from 6.9 infant deaths per 1000 births to 5.4 in 2013, according to the state Department of Health.
That might sound like a big drop, but that’s because the numbers for 2012 were abnormally high.
Camille Clifford is an epidemiologist at the New Mexico Health Department. She says a spike in substance abuse along with a rise in chronic health conditions among pregnant women that year could help explain the high infant death rate.
“Substance abuse and alcohol abuse did have an increase in 2012 that seemed to be a factor in infant mortality,” she said.
Researchers from the state Vital Records and Health Statistics Bureau say things seem to have evened out—figures for 2013 are right at the long term average for New Mexico, with around 140 infant deaths per year.