January 25, 2021

Infant mortality rate hits record low in Alabama

Alabama’s infant mortality rate has reached a record low, state health officials announced Wednesday.

The Alabama Department of Public Health announced the 2018 infant mortality rate was the lowest in Alabama history with 7.0 deaths per 1,000 live births It is an improvement over the 2017 rate of 7.4 and the 2016 rate of 9.1.

A total of 405 infants born in 2018 in Alabama died before reaching their first birthday.

However, Alabama’s mortality rate remains higher than the provisional U.S. rate of 5.7.

There also remains a racial disparity in infant mortality rates.

The infant mortality rate for black infants in Alabama was 11.0 in 2018, more than twice the infant mortality rate for white infants at 5.1.

State Health Officer Scott Harris said the the reduction in infant mortality is encouraging, but the state must continue to address Alabama’s racial disparities in birth outcomes, increase access to prenatal care and getting treatment for women for drug use disorders.

The Health Department said the leading causes of infant deaths in 2018 were: congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities; disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight; sudden infant death syndrome and bacterial sepsis of newborns.

These causes accounted for 50 percent of Alabama infant deaths.