Is the rate of baby deaths rising in your SC county? See the new 2024 DHEC report

Dreamstime/TNS

The infant mortality rate in South Carolina has begun falling after trending up for years, a new state report shows.

But that doesn’t mean all counties in the state are doing as well as others.

According to a S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control report released Wednesday, the state’s infant mortality rate dropped about 7% from 2021 to 2022, the most recent data available. That comes after the state had a 40% jump in the infant mortality rate between 2017 and 2021.

“We are pleased with the improvements we see in this year’s report; however, it’s critical that we continue our focus on improving the health outcomes for all of South Carolina’s newborns,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC deputy director of Health Promotion and Services & Chief Medical Officer, said in a Wednesday press release. “All babies born in South Carolina deserve an equal opportunity to live a long, happy and healthy life.”

South Carolina had 392 infants die during their first year of life in 2022, down from 416 in 2021. During the same period, the national infant mortality rate rose by 3%.

3 leading causes of SC infant deaths in 2022:

  1. Congenital malformations or birth defects

  2. Disorders related to short gestation and low birthweight (being born prematurely or at a low weight)

  3. Accidents

These three categories account for more than two in five infant deaths in 2022, DHEC states.

Deaths due to accidents had the largest jump at 46% in 2022. Of the 36 deaths due to accidents, 29 were caused by accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) remained the fourth leading cause of infant death, having a 37.6% increase from 2021 to 2022.

SC county infant mortality

Here is a breakdown of infant mortality rates for counties for 2020 to 2022 and for 2017 to 2019. Any county that had fewer than five infant deaths were not given a mortality rate.

Counties

#deaths (2020-2022)

Rate (2020-2022)

#deaths (2017-2019)

Rate (2017-2019)

Abbeville

8

11.8%

5

6.9%

Aiken

37

6.4%

49

8.8%

Allendale

<5

N/A

0

0.0%

Anderson

50

7.3%

41

6.1%

Bamberg

<5

N/A

6

14.5%

Barnwell

6

7.9%

9

12%

Beaufort

35

6.3%

23

4%

Berkeley

50

5.7%

43

5.1%

Calhoun

<5

N/A

5

12.4%

Charleston

100

6.7%

87

6%

Cherokee

14

7.3%

16

8.1%

Chester

11

11.3%

12

10.7%

Chesterfield

16

10.9%

14

9.4%

Clarendon

11

12.4%

9

9.5%

Colleton

11

8.4%

15

10.9%

Darlington

15

6.7%

18

7.9%

Dillon

9

8%

13

10.3%

Dorchester

29

4.9%

34

6.1%

Edgefield

<5

N/A

<5

N/A

Fairfield

8

14.2%

5

8.1%

Florence

54

11.3%

63

12.8%

Georgetown

7

4.8%

12

7.6%

Greenville

97

5%

119

6.3%

Greenwood

17

7.5%

21

8.5%

Hampton

10

16.8%

<5

N/A

Horry

62

6.4%

58

6.1%

Jasper

8

7%

10

9.2%

Kershaw

15

6.7%

10

4.5%

Lancaster

14

4.3%

21

7%

Laurens

18

8.2%

13

5.5%

Lee

7

14.4%

7

13.2%

Lexington

54

5.5%

64

6.6%

McCormick

<5

N/A

<5

N/A

Marion

10

10.4%

12

11.8%

Marlboro

7

8.9%

7

8.3%

Newberry

20

16.3%

11

8.9%

Oconee

18

9%

20

9.5%

Orangeburg

34

13.5%

27

9.3%

Pickens

26

7.2%

18

5%

Richland

98

7.2%

103

7.3%

Saluda

5

7%

8

12%

Spartanburg

69

5.8%

63

5.4%

Sumter

43

10.6%

25

6%

Union

10

12.9%

<5

N/A

Willamsburg

<5

N/A

12

13.1%

York

47

5.3%

46

5.2%

Improving SC infant health

DHEC and the State’s Title V program continue to partner with entities such as the South Carolina Hospital Association, South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes. The Title V program remains an active participant of the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative to address access to quality maternal, infant and child health services, including preventive and primary care, access to prenatal, delivery and postnatal care to women, and regular screenings and follow-up.

For information and resources about improving maternal and infant health, visit:

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