Report Finds Surpring Increase in Milwaukee's Infant Mortality Rates After Years of Decrease

Jun 5, 2014

The rising rate of infant mortality leaves a lot of empty cribs and heartbroken families around Milwaukee.
Credit Only Point Five, Flickr

Milwaukee’s efforts to reduce the rate of infant mortality in the city took a blow yesterday, when the city released new data showing the rate climbed to 10.3 deaths for every thousand births in the city.  That came after consistent decreases in the last decade. 

"There’s an expression – an old African proverb – that when you meet someone in your village, you say, 'How are the children?'” says Dr. Magda Peck. "If we asked that question in Milwaukee, today, how are our children, and we knew that since the last time we asked that question a year ago, over 100 babies died, we would be saying, “Not so well.'"

Moreover, the mortality rate among African-American babies climbed, as well, to 15.6 per 1000 – a rate almost threefold higher than white babies.

Peck is the Dean of the Zilber School of Public Health at UW-Milwaukee.  We spoke with her on Tuesday on the 6th floor of the University Club of Milwaukee.