Infants born in the Michigan cities with the highest birth rates tend to be more disadvantaged than those born in out-county areas, according to a study from the Michigan League for Public Policy.
The report found that one-quarter of newborns in Michigan were born to mothers living in one of 15 "legacy" cities: those former industrial powerhouses that took the brunt of the economic decline, including Muskegon and Grand Rapids.**
The report showed infants in these cities were more than twice as likely to be born to women without high school diplomas or GEDs and had roughly double the risk of being born to single parents or teenagers. The study also showed one of every 20 mothers in these cities received little or no prenatal care.
Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the Kids Count director and says while Michigan has made a sizable investment in early childhood education, there is still a need when it comes to breaking the cycle.
To reverse the trend, the report recommends the state fully fund its Infant Mortality Reduction plan, strengthen child care, education, and training opportunities and commit to an anti-smoking campaign.
**"Legacy" cities: Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Holland, Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw, Battle Creek, Bay City, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Muskegon, Port Huron or Warren.