COLUMBUS — Ohio’s infant mortality rate is showing signs of improvement, according to 2014 data issued by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) which indicates a decline in the overall infant mortality rate from 7.4 percent in 2013 to 6.8 percent in 2014. While data continues to trend in a positive direction overall, Ohio’s infant mortality rate – especially the black infant mortality rate – remains too high.
“While we are encouraged by the trends, there is much work to do – especially when it comes to African-American infants who die at more than twice the rate of white infants. We are optimistic that our recent initiatives will help us accelerate our progress,” said ODH Director Rick Hodges. “Given the importance of this issue, we sped up the process of collecting and analyzing data to provide the annual infant mortality report several months earlier than in past years in order to help our many partners who are on the front lines in the fight to save babies’ lives.”
Infant mortality is defined nationwide as the death of a live-born baby before his or her first birthday. Infant mortality rate is calculated as the number of such deaths per 1,000 live births. Ohio’s goal is to reach the Healthy People 2020 objective of a 6.0 infant mortality rate or lower in every race and ethnicity group. Healthy People 2020 is a national collaborative managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides science-based, national objectives for improving the health of Americans.
The number of infant deaths in Ohio declined nearly 6.7 percent from 1,024 in 2013 to 955 in 2014, marking the first time since deaths were registered in Ohio beginning in 1939 that the state had fewer than 1,000 infant deaths in a year. The three leading causes of infant deaths in Ohio are prematurity/pre-term births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects.
Ohio Infant Mortality Rate (Number of Infant Deaths per 1,000 Live Births)
• OVERALL (ALL RACES)
– Black 14.3 13.8
“Ohio is taking a statewide, coordinated approach to address the many factors contributing to infant mortality. As that work continues to make inroads, more Ohio babies will celebrate their first birthdays,” Hodges said.
The 2014 report on Ohio’s infant mortality data, including by county, is available on the website odh.ohio.gov.