Infant mortality rates are universal quality of life indicators and are closely linked to access to prenatal care and poverty. This rate measures the number of infant deaths under the age of one per 1,000 live births. The number of infant deaths in Michigan for 2004 was the lowest in recent history; 128 fewer infants died in Michigan in 2004 (984) than in 2003 (1,112). In fact, Michigan’s rate for 2004 was 7.6 per 1,000 live births, compared to 8.5 per 1,000 live births in 2003.
According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, “white infant mortality rate decreased from 6.7 per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 5.2 per 1,000 live births in 2004, the African American infant mortality rate only slightly decreased from 17.5 per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 17.3 per 1,000 live births in 2004.”
Since 2000, the mortality rate in Kalamazoo County for African American infants is still three times that of Caucasian American infants. The mortality rate for African American infants increased in 2002-2004 to 20.8 (+/- 7.1) from 19.4 (+/- 6.9) in 2001-2003. For Caucasian infants, the rate decreased significantly in 2002-2004 to 6.4 (+/- 1.8) from 8.5 (+/- 2.1) in 2001-2003.
County and State Death Statistics
The leading cause of deaths in the United States is heart disease followed by deaths related to complications from cancer. According to the National Center of Health Statistics, in 2004, Michigan ranked eighth in the country for the highest number of deaths, all causes.
Between 2000-2004, Kalamazoo County averaged 424.4 deaths per year. However, unlike the national average, Kalamazoo County experienced more cancer related deaths (463) than deaths related to heart disease (433). Kalamazoo County also realized a decline in the number of total deaths since 2001. The death rate in 2001 was 8.1% and has dropped to 7.8% in 2004.
Since 2001, Michigan has realized a decline in the number of deaths related to heart disease and cancer. In 2004, the total number of people that died from heart related diseases was down to 24,804 from 26,766 people in 2001. Likewise, the cancer death toll for 2001 was 19,608 and was down in 2004 to 19,564.