A new report shows Michigan has made some progress in improving maternal and infant well-being.
The Michigan League for Human Services' Kids Count in Michigan project found a drop in the percentage of teen births over the past decade. Repeat births to teens and pre-term births have also decreased.
But it’s not all good news. Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Mchigan project director, says the state saw worsening trends over the decade in babies weighing less than 5.5 pounds, or low-birthweight babies.
"One of indicators that is of most concern is the 7 percent increase in low-birthweight, because that is what drives infant mortality particularly in the African American community."
African Americans babies had double the risk of being born too small, compared to white and Hispanic babies.
The report calls for more state investment in programs and policies to improve the well-being of mothers, and provide a stronger safety net for low-income families and their children.
Zehnder-Merrell says these data are not only indicators of how successful the next generation will be, but also "how successful our state will be."