Roughly 16 of every 1,000 black infants born in Pontiac won’t live to see their first birthday.
It’s a striking statistic, but not an uncommon one, as researchers and public health officials have grappled for decades with disproportionate infant mortality rates between communities of color and whites.
In Pontiac, the mortality rate for black babies is 16 for every 1,000 live births, more than twice the 6.8 per 1,000 live births for white babies born in the city, the county seat.
Data from the Michigan Department of Community Health shows that the infant mortality rate for a black child is 2.9-times higher in Michigan than that of a white baby.
In Oakland County, the infant mortality rate is 3.5-times higher, standing at 13.5 per 1,000 live births for black children and 3.8 per 1,000 live births for white children. The study followed three-year moving averages per 1000 live births from 2006 to 2017.