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Infant deaths down, but not for all races and income levels

Infant death rates in Michigan are down overall. But race and income still seem to make a difference in whether children live past their first birthday.

The Michigan League for Public Policy released a study Wednesday. It compares infant mortality trends from 2010 (2008-2010, three-year average) and 20-15 (2013-2015, three-year average).

While overall, the death rate is down, the mortality rate for Hispanic babies rose during the time of the study. The study also found that black babies die at over twice the rate of white infants.

While the numbers are there, it’s hard to determine why this is happening, said Kids Count in Michigan project director, Alicia Guevara Warren.

“It’s really important to take this to the next level and really try to understand what’s happening in every community, because every community is different,” she said. “Which means that our solutions are going to be slightly different as well.”

Guevara Warren said report can help policymakers come up with solutions.

“Whether it’s in more rural areas, whether it’s targeting racial disparities and how we reduce that. So our policy efforts and resources really need to be targeted in a way that are helping the people who are most in need.”

Guevara Warren expanding programs that address infant mortality where babies are most at risk is a good place to start.  The Michigan League for Public Policy also suggests keeping the Affordable Care Act because it guarantees maternity health coverage and expands Medicaid to Michigan residents with low incomes.

The state has seen fewer teen and young females getting pregnant. The number of women under the age of 20 who gave birth dropped by almost 37 percent.

You can view the full report here.