Infant Mortality Three Times Higher Among Blacks Than Whites in Urban Areas of Michigan, Study Finds
The black-white infant mortality gap continues to grow in most of Michigan's large urban areas despite progress in reducing risk factors among blacks, according to a recent study, the Flint Journal reports. The Michigan branch of Kids Count conducted the study through the Michigan League for Human Services.
The study, which looked at 11 urban areas in the state, found that black infants were three times more likely than white infants to die before age one. In Genesee County, black infants were two-and-a-half times more likely than white infants to die before age one, the study found. From 2004 through 2006, the black infant mortality rate in the county was 18.6 deaths per 1,000 births, compared with 7.3 per 1,000 live births for whites. Infant mortality in the county decreased for both groups since 1998-2000 and 2004-2008, although the county continues to have the highest infant mortality rate for whites among the counties studied. A greater number of low birthweight infants among blacks contributed to the infant mortality disparity, according to the Journal.
Jane Zehnder-Merrell, director of Kids Count in Michigan, said the black-white infant mortality gap in Genesee County is "appalling" but "better than it has been in the past." Zehnder-Merrell added, "When we have this disparity at the onset of life, it has ramifications throughout that child's life" (Angelo, Flint Journal, 5/8).
The study is available online.