Ohio infant deaths decrease, but racial disparity continues

Posted at 8:50 AM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-07 08:51:53-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Health officials say the number of infant deaths in Ohio decreased overall from 2016 to 2017, but racial disparity continued as deaths among black infants increased.

The state recorded 982 infant deaths last year, down from 1,024 the previous year. But the Ohio Department of Health says the number of black infants who died increased by 15, and they died at nearly three times the rate of white infants.

Department Director Lance Himes says the data show more babies are reaching their first birthdays, but Ohio needs to eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes.

Last year marked the second time that Ohio had fewer than 1,000 infant deaths in a year since the state began recording infant mortality in 1939.