health disparities

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Too many babies are dying in Michigan. 

That’s not speculation – that’s based on some disturbing statistics. And even now, in 2013, those statistics say that a baby’s chance of living past his or her first birthday can largely depend on the color of the baby’s skin. 

In Michigan, the infant mortality rate has been persistently higher than the national average.

More specifically, a baby born to a black mother is almost three times more likely to die before its first birthday than a baby born to a white mother. 

Michigan Radio's Dustin Dwyer reported in August about Michigan's infant mortality disparity for State of Opportunity:

Using a three-year moving average for Michigan’s mortality rate for African-American babies, we would be behind every advanced nation, tucked between countries like Malaysia and Syria. 

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Men who live on one side of Rawsonville Rd. have a life expectancy that's six years longer than men on the other side.

In fact, the life expectancy for males in Washtenaw County is the equivalent of Switzerland, while in Wayne County it's the equivalent of Syria. 

Ron French is a contributing writer for Bridge Magazine, and recently published a story about the health disparities between Wayne and Washtenaw counties, and spoke with us about what he found.

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In Grand Rapids, African American infants are just slightly more likely to survive to their first birthday than infants born in the Gaza Strip. Six years ago, Grand Rapids had the worst infant mortality rate in the state. Today, it is sixth.

Detroit residents over 50 are hospitalized more often and die earlier than people in other parts of the state.

That’s according to a new report, “Dying Before Their Time II: The Startling Truth of Senior Mortality in Detroit and Other Urban Michigan Communities.”

The difference between those two groups is starkest in the 50-59 age bracket.