Virginia Infant Mortality Trends

The Virginia Department of Health and the State Child Fatality Review Team recently released the Infant Mortality Trends in Virginia 2014-2016 report. Representatives from across the continuum of care, including the Virginia Departments of Health, Social Services, and Education are part of the interdisciplinary team involved in producing the report, which highlights the leading causes and risk factors associated with infant death to inform prevention and intervention strategies. Overall, Virginia’s infant mortality rate ranked 21st among states with a rate of 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. Those numbers are below the national average. While Virginia’s overall infant mortality decreased by 7.6 percent from 2013-2016, the rate of non-natural infant deaths rose 27.7 percent over that period. Among non-natural infant deaths, sudden unexplained infant death (SUID), asphyxia, and undetermined causes accounted for 80 percent of all deaths. The first image below shows the rate of non-natural infant deaths by locality from 2014-2016. The localities in Virginia with more than six deaths per 1,000 births were the city of Danville, and the counties of Botetourt, Buchanan, Henry, Lee, and Northampton. The report also factors in the frequency and rate of non-natural infant deaths based on region of residence. Among regions, Southwest Virginia experienced a higher rate of non-natural infant deaths (2.01 per 1,000) when compared to other areas of the Commonwealth. The Eastern region had the second highest rate (1.60), followed by the Central (1.31) and Northwest Virginia (.91) regions. The Northern region had the lowest regional rate in Virginia (.41 per 1,000). For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s resource page for infants and children. (6/8)