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Ohio infant mortality rate declines, racial disparities persist, state data shows

The Ohio infant mortality rate continued to improve in the latest state report, though a wide gap still remains between the rate of black and white babies who make it a year to celebrate their first birthdays (Source: “Ohio infant death rate declines but still remains above national rate,” Dayton Daily News, Feb. 26, 2020).

According to the Ohio Department of Health’s 2018 Infant Mortality Annual Report, Ohio’s infant mortality rate — the number of babies who die before age 1 per 1,000 live births — was 6.9 for 2018, the Ohio Department of Health said Tuesday. That is higher than the 2017 national rate of 5.8.

The Ohio rate has declined from 7.2 deaths per 1,000 births in 2017 and 7.4 in 2016. The rate among black infants fell to 13.9 in 2018 from 15.6 in 2017. Ohio’s goal (as outlined in the 2017-2019 State Health Improvement Plan) is 6.0 or fewer infant deaths per 1,000 live births in every racial and ethnic group.

“While there are indications of promising progress, there is much more that we must do to help more Ohio babies reach their first birthdays, particularly African-American infants given that the black infant mortality rate hasn’t changed significantly since 2009,” said Gov. Mike DeWine, who has made infant mortality prevention a top priority.