November 2018 Release

INFANT MORTALITY:  For every 1,000 Michigan live births, almost seven infants die before reaching their first birthday. In 2017, 762 infants under the age of one year died, resulting in an infant mortality rate of 6.8 per 1,000 live births. Michigan experienced a significant decline in infant mortality during the early 1990s; but during the 2000s the infant mortality rates remained around 7.9 deaths per 1,000 births. The 2017 rate indicates a drop of the mortality rates to about 7.0 since 2010, from the 7.9 average in the previous decade. The total number of Michigan infants who died between 2010-2017 was 6,200. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates for Michigan Residents, 1970-2016.)

The perinatal death rate has not significantly changed in years; the rate has been approximately 9 fetal or hebdomadal deaths per 100,000 live births since around 2011. The perinatal death rate was 8.9 in 2016 and 9.3 in 2017. (See Infant, Hebdomadal, Fetal and Perinatal Death Rates, Michigan 2007-2017.)

Historically, the infant death rate has declined over time. In 1970, the infant death rate was 20.3 deaths per 1,000 live births; and this rate declined to 10.7 in 1990 and then again to 7.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. Since 1970, these declines were primarily due to advances in neontal medicine, artificial lung surfactants, folic acid supplementation, and numerous public health interventions. The gradual decline suggests that the infant mortality rate will drop to about 6.3 by 2020 and perhaps as low as 5.0 by 2030. (See Infant Mortality Rates & Forecasts, Michigan 1970-2030.)

Both the white and black infant mortality rates remained about the same in recent years, with a persistant racial disparity in which African American mother's experienced 3 times the risk of an infant death compared to white mothers. In 2005, the white infant death rate was 5.5, and was comparable to the previous ten-year 1996-2005 average of 6.0 deaths per 1,000 white births. The black infant death rate was 17.9 in 2005, and was also comparable to the previous decade average of 17.6 deaths per 1,000 black births. In 2017 the white infant mortality rate was 4.8 per 1,000 live births while the black rate was 14.6 per 1,000 live births. Between 2006-2017 the white infant mortality rate has remained about the same, while the black rate has declined by 25% due to a reduction of infant deaths since 2005. The decline in the Michigan infant mortality rate is largely due to a reduction in black infant deaths. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates by Race for Michigan Residents, 1970-2016.)

Between 2000-2013, the Native American infant death rate remained on average 11 deaths per 1,000 live births. Between 2015-2017, the rate increased to 14.2 deaths per 1,000 births. The Native American infant death rate is comparible to the African American rate; the racial disparity between Native Americans and whites is about the same as African Americans (2.8 Native American deaths for every white infant death). (See Three-year Average Infant Death Rates by Race and Ancestry.).

The Michigan infant mortality rate continues to be higher than the last reported national rate. The 2016 infant death rate for the United States is 5.9. (See Number and Rate of Infant Deaths by Race, Michigan and United States Residents, 1989-2016.)

LIVE BIRTHS: In 2017, the number of live births decreased to 111,507, from the 2016 live birth count of 113,374. The 2012-2017 numbers represent historic lows, and Michigan's birth count has gradually decreased since at least 1990. Nationally, there were 3,855,500 births in the U.S. in 2017, a decline of 10.7% from the record number reported for 2007 and a 2.3% decrease from last year.

CAUSES OF DEATH: In 2017, 33.5% of infants died due to conditions related to prematurity and 18.5% died due to birth defects. In addition, 10.8% of infants deaths died due to accidents; 7.1% of all infant deaths were due to accidental suffocation in bed. (See Number of Infant Deaths by Cause of Death, 2014-2016.)

Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) declined from about 15 per 1,000 live births in the early eighties to about 5 per 1,000 by the late nineties. Due to surfactant and other therapies, the number of RDS deaths has continued to decline to less than 2 per 1,000 live births in 2015-2017. In the past few years, the SIDS death rate has remained about 3 per 1,000 live births.

CHARACTERISTICS OF NEWBORN: Certain newborns are at higher risk of dying. In 2017 infants born with very low birth weight (less than 1,500 grams) experienced an infant death rate of 246.0 per 1,000 live births compared to a rate of 2.3 for those infants weighing 2,500 grams or more. Multiple birth infants had an infant mortality rate of 28.4 per 1,000 live births compared to the rate of 6.0 for single birth infants. The excess male infant mortality normally reported in other years was present in 2017, with the infant mortality for male infants at 7.5 per 1,000 male live births and females at 6.1 per 1,000 female live births. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates by Selected Characteristics of Newborn and of Mother for Michigan Residents, 2016.)

CHARACTERISTICS OF MOTHER: Infant death rates were the lowest for mothers aged 30-39 years old and highest for mothers aged under 20 years old. Unmarried mothers had infant mortality rates about twice those of married mothers. Women receiving inadequate prenatal care experienced infant mortality rates three times as high as those women receiving adequate prenatal care. Mothers exposed to secondhand smoking while pregnant had an infant death rate of 9.1 per 1,000 live births compared to a rate of 5.9 for mothers who were not exposed to secondhand smoking during pregnancy. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates by Selected Characteristics of Newborn and of Mother for Michigan Residents, 2016.)


MARCH 2018 UPDATE: In March 2018, the Michigan Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics (DVRHS) reported that 730 Michigan resident infants died in 2016. With the November release, the number of infant deaths in 2016 was updated to 747. Certain mortality records are finalized very late due to forensic enquiries, or for administrative purposes, or for other exceptional reasons. In the case of this 2016 update, the 17 infant deaths were reported late due to exceptional circumstances; this high number of unreported infant deaths is unlikely to occur in 2017.


COMMUNITY LEVEL DATA: Infant mortality data are available at this site for most communities in Michigan. Data for local health department districts, counties and major cities and townships can be reached by using the Community Health Information Infant Mortality page. Supplementary tables? specific to Michigan are available at the Michigan Vital Statistics Infant Mortality Statistics home page.

Questions regarding Infant Death Statistics should be directed to:

Lindsey Myers
Division for Vital Records & Health Statistics
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services
333 S. Grand Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

(517) 335-8715 Voice (517) 335-8711 FAX