Regional infant mortality remains higher than state, nation

The regional infant mortality rate declined for the second year in a row, but continues to be significantly higher than state and national rates.  The rate decreased from 7.3 to 7.1 deaths per 1000 live births, according to data recently released from the Florida Department of Health, compared to 5.8 deaths per 1000 live births at the state level, and 5.6 deaths nationally.

There were 128 babies who died before their first birthday during the year, the equivalent of eight classes of kindergarteners.

Racial disparities also persist: The infant death rate for white babies was 4.8 deaths per 1000 live births, compared to 12.8 deaths for black babies. Racial equity in birth outcomes is a key focus of the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition.

The leading causes of death in 2020 were:

  • Other perinatal conditions, including maternal complications and bacterial sepsis (29.6 percent)
  • Prematurity/Low Birth Weight (21 percent)
  • Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUIDs), which were largely sleep-related (19.5 percent)
  • Congenital anomalies (16.5 percent)

County infant mortality rates per 1000 live births:

  • Baker: 11.2
  • Clay: 5.2
  • Duval: 7.8
  • Nassau: 4.9
  • St. Johns: 5.1

Other notable birth outcomes from 2020 include:

  • There were 134 fetal deaths, or stillborns (7.5 fetal deaths per 1000 live births).
  • Eleven percent of births were premature.
  • There were two maternal deaths in Northeast Florida — one each in Duval and St. Johns counties.