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Michigan infant mortality lowest in recorded history

LANSING – Michigan has achieved a significant milestone in the state’s efforts to keep mothers and babies safe. In 2019, data shows that Michigan had both the lowest Infant Mortality Rate in recorded history and a measurable decrease in the disparity of death occurrences between Black and white races.

Recent data released by the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Epidemiology Section of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) shows an Infant Mortality Rate for 2019 of 6.4 per 1,000 live births and a reduction of the Black and white infant mortality disparity ratio of 3.2 in 2018 to 2.6 in 2019.

Infant mortality is considered the death of an infant before reaching the age of one. Causes of infant mortality included birth defects, preterm birth, maternal pregnancy complications, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and injuries like suffocation.

The decreasing disparity ratio is good news for Michigan, but leaders in state and local public health continue striving to eradicate disparities. Michigan continues to address root causes of maternal and infant health disparities, which aligns with the 2030 Healthy People goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate racial disparities in infant deaths.

“It is encouraging that Michigan achieved an all-time low infant mortality rate in 2019, as well as the fact that we are starting to see a decreasing trend in the infant mortality disparity ratio between Black and white infants,” said Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “Vigilance and intentionality in our efforts must continue for us to remain on course. We must continue to address the root cause of inequities — systemic racism moving collectively and actionably, as we celebrate the lowest infant mortality rate of record and closing disparate gaps in our fight to assure healthy outcomes for Michigan mothers and babies.”

In September 2019, MDHHS announced the release of the 2020-2023, Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan (MIHEIP). The Improvement Plan includes comprehensive statewide strategies to improve the health of mothers and babies to achieve the vision of Zero Preventable Deaths and Zero Health Disparities.

To learn more about infant mortality, visit the CDC website.

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