SUMMARY OF 2021 INFANT DEATH STATISTICS
November 2022 Release
INFANT MORTALITY: For every 1,000 Michigan live births, more than six infants die before reaching their first birthday. In 2021, 656 infants under the age of one died, resulting in an infant mortality rate of 6.2 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 2020 rate is about the same mortality rates as the average of 6.8 per 1,000 since 2010, though down from the 7.9 average in the previous decade. However, In 2021, the infant mortality rate dropped to a historic low of 6.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The total number of Michigan infants who died between 2011-2021 was 8,163. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates for Michigan Residents, 1970-2021.)
The perinatal death rate has not significantly changed in years; the rate has been approximately 9 fetal or hebdomadal deaths per 1,000 live births since around 2011. The perinatal death rate was 9.4 in 2019 and 9.3 in 2020 and 8.9 in 2021. (See Infant, Hebdomadal, Fetal and Perinatal Death Rates, Michigan 2007-2021.)
Historically, the infant death rate has declined over time. In 1900, the infant death rate was 157.1 deaths per 1,000 live births and in 1970, the infant death rate was 20.3. By 1990, the rate had declined to 10.7 and then again to 7.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. Since 1970, these declines were primarily due to advances in neonatal medicine, artificial lung surfactants, folic acid supplementation, and numerous public health interventions. After 2010, the infant death rate remain around 6.8 to 2020;however, the 2021 infant death rate of 6.2 may be indicative of a long-term, very gradual decline in the infant death rate. (See Infant Mortality Rates & Forecasts, Michigan 1970-2033.)
Both the white and black infant mortality rates remained about the same in recent years, with a persistant racial disparity in which African American mothers experienced over three times the risk of an infant death compared to white mothers. Between 2011-2015, the white infant death rate was an average of 5.3 deaths per 1,000 white births; between 2016-2020, the rate slightly declined to 4.8, In 2021, the white infant death rate fail to a historic low of 4.2. The black infant mortality rate showed no declines during the same period. Between 2011-2015, the black infant mortality rate was an average of 13.6 infant deaths per 1,000 black births; between 2016-2020, the average rate slightly increased to 14.1. In 2021, the black infant death rate was 15.5. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates by Race for Michigan Residents, 1970-2021.)
The Michigan infant mortality rate continues to be higher than the last reported national rate. The 2021 infant death rate for the United States is 5.5. (See Number and Rate of Infant Deaths by Race, Michigan and United States Residents, 1989-2021.)
LIVE BIRTHS: In 2021, the number of live births increased to 105,022, from the 2020 live birth count of 104,149. The increase in live births is unusual; the 2012-2020 numbers are historic lows and are part of a trend toward decreasing numbers of births that begun around 1990. Nationally, there were 3,659,289 births in the U.S. in 2021, a decline of 15.2% from the record number reported for 2007. (See Trends Infant Deaths, Births & Rates.)
CAUSES OF DEATH: In 2021, 31% of infants died due to conditions related to prematurity and 15% died due to birth defects. In addition, 10% of infants deaths died due to accidents and most of these accidents were due to accidental suffocation in bed. (See Dollfus Cause of Death Group.)
Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) declined from about 15 per 10,000 live births in the early eighties to about 5 per 10,000 by the late nineties. Due to surfactant and other therapies, the number of RDS deaths has continued to decline to less than 2 per 10,000 live births in 2019-2021. In the past few years, the SIDS death rate has remained above 3 per 10,000 live births and increase to almost 4 deaths per 10,000. (See Rates of Infant Deaths by Cause of Death.)
CHARACTERISTICS OF NEWBORN: Certain newborns are at higher risk of dying. In 2021, infants born with very low birth weight (less than 1,500 grams) experienced an infant death rate of 219.4 per 1,000 live births compared to a rate of 2.2 for those infants weighing 2,500 grams or more. Multiple birth infants had an infant mortality rate of 21.3 per 1,000 live births compared to the rate of 5.6 for single birth infants. Male infant death rates are normally higher than female rates. In 2021, the male rate was slightly higher at 6.6 deaths per 1,000 male live births, while females deaths were at 5.8 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.)
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 over twice those of married mothers. Women receiving inadequate prenatal care experienced infant mortality rates of 17.3 per 1,000 compared to an infant mortality rate of 4.6 per 1,000 for those women receiving adequate prenatal care. Mothers exposed to secondhand smoking while pregnant had an infant death rate of 9.9 per 1,000 live births compared to a rate of 5.6 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.)
ADMINISTRATIVE INFANT DEATH RECORDS: In the 2018, two Detroit area funeral homes' licenses were revoked; this action delayed some reports of infant deaths. To adjust for delays, the Michigan Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics (DVRHS) substituted administrative death records for infants who could not be located in Michigan or out-of-state death files (1) and were flagged as deceased in the Michigan Inpatient database and (2) who were verified as deceased by contacting the hospital of the live birth. Administrative death records are infant death records created from hospital, birth and partial death data reported before the revokation. The Michigan death file contains 21 administrative records.
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:
Division for Vital Records & Health Statistics
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services
333 S. Grand Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933