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Health gains cited by federal government

graphic October 4, 1996
Web posted at: 10;50 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States was a healthier place to live in 1995, according to U.S. government statistics released Friday.

"Today we have good news about America's health," said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala in announcing the changes.

In its annual report card of health indicators HHS reported:

  • Murder rates, grouped by age, dropped 15 percent last year, and the actual number of homicides was down from 24,926 in 1994 to 21,577 last year.
  • Infant mortality dropped to a record low of 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1995. The figure represents a 6-percent reduction from 1994, but still leaves the United States ranked about 20th among western industrial nations in this category.
  • The teen birth rate was down 3 percent last year. Among African-American teens, the decline equals 17 percent since 1991. Government officials say the numbers indicate an increase in condom use.
  • The overall birth rate for unmarried women dropped 4 percent last year. This was the first time in 50 years that the number, rate and proportion of births to unmarried women has dropped.
  • The death rate from AIDS did not increase from the previous year, the first time that has happened. Still, the actual number of AIDS-related deaths rose to 42,500--the highest ever.
  • Life expectancy reached 75.8-years, matching the 1992 record.

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