WASHINGTON — The nation's infant-mortality rate dropped to an all-time low in 1993, although the rate is still higher than that of 21 other countries, the government's record-keepers reported Thursday.
The infant-mortality rate fell to 8.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1993, a decline from 8.5 deaths per 1,000 the year before.
There were also indications of a slight drop in life expectancy for newborns, according to provisional figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. Babies born in 1993 are expected to live an average of 75.5 years, down from 1992's all-time high of 75.8 years. But almost a third of babies born in 1993 are expected to reach age 85.
Dr. Myron E. Wegman of the University of Michigan, author of a report on the figures in the journal Pediatrics, said life expectancy fell because of an influenza epidemic in 1993 and because of higher death rates from pneumonia, influenza and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
The National Center for Health Statistics also released final mortality statistics for 1992:
* Age-adjusted death rates for the six leading causes of death--heart disease, cancer, stroke, lung disease, accidents and pneumonia-influenza--all fell.
* Death rates declined for every age group except 35 to 44.