INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s infant mortality rate fell last year to the lowest level since the state began recording those deaths more than a century ago, according to new data.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Thursday that preliminary data released by the State Department of Health shows the statewide infant mortality rate fell from 6.8 per 1,000 live births in 2018 to 6.5 in 2019. The mortality rate among Black infants fell from 13.0 to 11.0 last year.
Infant mortality rates track the number of babies that die before their first birthday.
A total of 527 Indiana babies died before their first birthdays in 2019, down from 559 in 2018 and 602 in 2017.
Indiana has historically had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. From 2013 to 2017, Indiana’s average infant mortality rate was 7.3 per 1,000 compared to the national average of 5.9 over the same time period.
Last year's decline marks the third consecutive year that Indiana’s infant mortality rate has fallen, state officials said in a news release. The rate is the lowest it’s been since record-keeping began in 1900.
“We are committed to ensuring the best chance for a healthy pregnancy and a strong start to life for Indiana’s newborns,” Holcomb said in a statement. “While we celebrate these results, our work is far from finished, and we won’t rest as we work to protect our youngest.”