Alabama's infant mortality rate declined in 2013 and the infant mortality rate for black infants fell to its lowest level ever.
The state Department of Public Health said Wednesday that the 2013 rate for all infants was 8.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. That was down from 8.9 recorded in 2012.
The department says the infant mortality rate among black babies was 12.6, which was the lowest since the state began keeping records in 1950. The rate among white infants rose from 6.6 in 2012 to 6.9 in 2013.
Alabama is launching a program called "State of Champions" to try to reduce the state's high infant mortality rate.
State Health Officer Don Williamson and Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday it will take time to reduce Alabama's rate, which is traditionally in the top three among states, but they are determined to do it.