Infant mortality decreases in 2021, racial disparities rise

In 2021, 116 babies in Northeast Florida died before their first birthday, according to vital statistics data from the Florida Department of Health. This represents a significant drop from 2020, when there were 128 infant deaths.

The regional infant mortality rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births is more in line with the state (5.9 deaths per 1000 live births) and nation (5.5 deaths per 1000 live births) than previous years.

The leading causes of death were prematurity, sudden unexpected infant deaths (sleep-related) and congenital anomalies. There were an additional 118 fetal deaths, or stillbirths.

Rates varied by county:

  • Baker: 0
  • Clay: 5.4
  • Duval: 6.7
  • Nassau: 2.4
  • St. Johns: 7.2

Despite improvement in the overall infant mortality rate, racial disparities continue to persist: in 2020, the infant death rate for white babies was 4.8 deaths per 1000 live births, compared to 12.8 deaths for black babies. 2021 provisional data shows a growth in the disparity: black babies died at a rate 3.4 times higher than the white rate.  Racial equity in birth outcomes is a key focus of the Coalition.