COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina has reported a 7% drop in infant deaths from 2019 and 2020.
But the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says the rate of babies dying before their first birthday is likely still above the national average.
The agency’s annual report says that 364 of the 55,713 babies born in South Carolina last year died within their first year.
Public health officials say the decrease in deaths is promising but disparities are widening between white babies and babies of color.
The death rate for Black babies was more than double that of white infants last year.
Officials say one barrier to infant health is access to prenatal care.