January 2022 Release

INFANT MORTALITY:  For every 1,000 Michigan live births, more than six infants die before reaching their first birthday. In 2020, 706 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 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. The total number of Michigan infants who died between 2010-2020 was 8,324. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates for Michigan Residents, 1970-2020.)

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 9.5 in 2018 and 9.4 in 2019 and 9.3 in 2020. (See Infant, Hebdomadal, Fetal and Perinatal Death Rates, Michigan 2007-2020.)

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; the rate is so consistent that time series models predict the infant death rate around 6.8 per 1,000 live births till 2032. (See Infant Mortality Rates & Forecasts, Michigan 1970-2032.)

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 nearly three 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 2020 the white infant mortality rate was 5.0 per 1,000 live births while the black rate was 14.0 per 1,000 live births. Between 2007-2020 the white infant mortality rate has declined slightly, while the black rate has declined by 25% due to a reduction of infant deaths since 2005. However, over the last ten years, there was only a modest decline in the white death rate, and the black rate has not significantly changed at all. (See Number of Infant Deaths, Live Births and Infant Death Rates by Race for Michigan Residents, 1970-2020.)

Between 2000-2013, the Native American infant death rate remained on average 11 deaths per 1,000 live births and between 2017-2019, the rate was 11.2 deaths per 1,000 births. However, in 2018-2020, the Native American rate dropped to 8.2 infant deaths per 1,000, the lowest rate between 1999 to 2020. (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 2020 infant death rate for the United States is 5.4. (See Number and Rate of Infant Deaths by Race, Michigan and United States Residents, 1989-2020.)

LIVE BIRTHS: In 2020, the number of live births decreased to 104,149, from the 2019 live birth count of 107,917. Though some decline in births in 2020 can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, 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 3,613,647 births in the U.S. in 2020, a decline of 16.2% from the record number reported for 2007 and a 3.6% decrease from last year.

CAUSES OF DEATH: In 2020, 34% of infants died due to conditions related to prematurity and 17.1% died due to birth defects. In addition, 10.2% 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 2018-2020. 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 2020, infants born with very low birth weight (less than 1,500 grams) experienced an infant death rate of 235.9 per 1,000 live births compared to a rate of 2.5 for those infants weighing 2,500 grams or more. Multiple birth infants had an infant mortality rate of 29.2 per 1,000 live births compared to the rate of 5.9 for single birth infants. The excess male infant mortality normally reported in other years was not present in 2020, with the infant mortality for male infants at 6. per 1,000 male live births and females at 6.6 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, 2020.)

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 16.5 per 1,000 compared to an infant mortality rate of 2.9 per 1,000 for those women receiving adequate prenatal care. Mothers exposed to secondhand smoking while pregnant had an infant death rate of 9.4 per 1,000 live births compared to a rate of 6.1 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, 2020.)


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:

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