HEALTH : Infant Mortality at Record Low

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

The 1989 infant mortality rate, at 9.7 per 1,000 live births, was the lowest ever recorded in the United States, while deaths due to AIDS rose to become the 11th-leading killer, the government said today.

The 1989 data, released by the National Center for Health Statistics, also showed life expectancy reaching a record high of 75.2 years and a continuing decline in death rates for various diseases.

Infant mortality rates reflect deaths of children before their first birthday. The 1989 infant mortality rate was 2% lower than the 1988 rate of 9.9 per 1,000 live births.

However, the decline in infant mortality has slowed in the last several years, particularly for black infants, for whom the rate is more than twice that for whites, the report said.