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Health & Science

Ohio's Already High Infant-Mortality Rate Ticks up

Ohio 10-year map of infant mortality
Ohio Department of Health

Black infants in Ohio are nearly three times more likely as white infants to die before they turn 1, and the gap is growing wider. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on Ohio’s latest infant mortality rate.

The new report from the Ohio Department of Health shows the state’s rate overall in 2015 was 7.2 infant deaths 1,000 live births. That’s an uptick from 2014 overall, though still slightly less than 2013.

The 2015 rates: Ohio 7.2; Mahoning 10.9; Cuyahoga 10.5; Trumbull 9.6; Summit 7.4; Lorain 5.9; Stark 4.7

But among black infants, the rate has been going up for three straight years, now topping 15 deaths per 1,000 births.  

Mahoning County had the highest mortality rate overall in Northeast Ohio and one of the highest in the state, followed closely by Cuyahoga and Trumbull counties. In a glimmer of good news, Stark County – which has been among the highest in the state over a 10 year average -- saw its rate fall. It, like Mahoning, Summit and Cuyahoga, has been targeted for special state funding and programs to cut the mortality rate.

Nearly half of the infant deaths in Ohio are related to premature births, with about another third tied to birth defects and sleep-related issues.