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Baby deaths "twice white levels"

The death rate for babies in the Caribbean and Pakistani communities is more than twice that of the white British population of England and Wales, new statistics have revealed.

There was almost one death for every 100 live births in Caribbean and Pakistani families but the figure fell to one for every 250 live births in white British families.

The Office for National Statistics looked at the 645,835 live births in England and Wales in 2005.

Analysis revealed that 11% of live births were to Asian and black families but those communities suffered 17% of infant deaths.

The Caribbean community had the highest rate of infant mortality at 9.8 deaths per 1,000 live births but the Pakistani community was only slightly lower on 9.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Both were more than double the rate in the white British group where there were 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Death rates for families born into Caribbean families were highest in the first month after birth and two-thirds (67%) were due to conditions arising from low birthweight and babies being born early.

Less than half (44%) of the deaths in the white British group were due to these factors.

In the Pakistani community, mortality remained high during the first year, and half of all infant deaths were due to congenital anomalies, compared with only a quarter (25%) of deaths in the white British group.

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