According to the California Department of Public Health, the state’s infant mortality rate has reached a historic low of 4.7 infant deaths per 1,000 births.
The numbers are from 2010, the most recent year of data available.
Citing factors such as a decline in premature births, California ranks fourth-lowest among the states for infant mortality rate. Washington, Utah and Massachusetts all have lower rates.
According to the department, preventative measures need to be taken in order to prevent infant mortality.
“Optimal infant health outcomes are influenced by a woman’s health even before she becomes pregnant, including avoiding tobacco, alcohol and drugs, maintaining a healthful weight, and taking folic acid supplements,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, the state’s health officer and director of the CDHP, in the release.
The country as a whole ranks 174 out of 222 in the world in terms of highest infant mortality rate with a 5.98, according CIA World Factbook 2012 estimates. Monaco and Japan have the lowest rates, at 1.80 and 2.21, respectively.
Afghanistan, Niger, Mali and Somalia have the highest rates, all over 100 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates continue to persist, however, according to the CDHP. African Americans continue to have 2.3 times more infant mortalities than whites, although the rate has dropped from 2009 to 2010.