Ohio Experiences Jump in Infant Mortality

The number of infant deaths in Ohio has increased from 955 in 2014 to just over 1,000 in 2015, according to new data released by the Ohio Department of Health.

The data showed that black babies are dying at a rate nearly three times the rate of white babies. For both races the leading causes of infant deaths are pre-term births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects, according to a press release.

In the past five years the state of Ohio has invested more than $41 million to help address infant mortality. More recently, the Ohio Department of Medicaid announced $26.8 million of funding to support 46 local projects in nine metropolitan areas. In 2015, these areas accounted for close to two-thirds of all infant deaths, including 90 percent of black infant deaths.

Infant mortality is defined as the death of a live-born baby before his or her first birthday. The national average is 6 babies per 1,000. Ohio’s rate is 7.2.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.