The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Crocker Stephenson took a look at disparities in infant mortality in that area and explored both their cases and ramifications. In Wisconsin, black babies die at twice the rate of white babies, a finding which may just be the tip of the iceberg. For national and international comparisons, see the companion infographic. According to Stephenson, infant mortality rates are an early indicator of a community’s degeneration. When mortality rises, so do other dire indicators.
The bottom third – the group of ZIP codes with the most poverty and lowest college graduation rates – had the highest infant mortality rate.
It also had the highest premature death rate, chlamydia rate, HIV rate and teen birthrate.
It had the greatest percentage of low birth weights; preterm births; uninsured adults; people who hadn’t seen a dentist in a year; births to mothers who received no prenatal care during their first trimester; smokers; pregnant smokers; obesity; violent assaults within the past year; single-parent households; and children who tested positive for lead poisoning.
Milwaukee’s health commissioner called it a “crisis,” one that Stephenson found is as much a social matter as it is one of access to proper care. For more, see the “Problem Areas” section of the story.