Preliminary infant mortality figures from Milwaukee show 84 babies died last year, a drop from the previous two years. But the city also had its lowest number of live births in 40 years.
By 2017, the city hopes to lower overall infant mortality by 10 percent, according to Dr. Geoffrey Swain, medical director for the City of Milwaukee Health Department .
"Current trends put us pretty much right on track to meet that goal," said Swain. "The goal we are not on track to meet is for our African-American infant mortality rate."
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Over the last three years, Milwaukee's infant mortality rate for black babies was 15 deaths per 1,000 live births, three times the rate of white babies.
Premature birth is the biggest reason babies die before age 1, followed by non-preventable birth defects and unsafe sleep conditions.
The latest statewide data from 2013 indicates there were 414 infant deaths in Wisconsin with a wide gap between blacks and whites.