"Where City Factories, and Now Babies, Die"

"The economic decline and elevated infant mortality rate in the 53210 ZIP code area exemplify the challenges facing [Milwaukee] city leaders."

"The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has mastered many of the trades Milwaukee championed in the last century: machinery, motors, metalworking. Guangzhou's boom has coincided with the sunset of manufacturing in Milwaukee, which in mere decades lost one of the nation's densest concentrations of mass production.

The two cities crisscross in another way: Babies in China's industrial heartland now have a far better chance of reaching their first birthday.

In Milwaukee, one baby under the age of 12 months dies for every 95 who live, making it one of America's most fatal cities for infants. A generation ago, Milwaukee was one of the safest.

Among registered residents of Guangzhou, one baby dies for every 210 who live. The Chinese data, vetted by the World Bank and United Nations, often miss migrant workers in factories, but their infant survival rates are improving markedly as well.

Infant survival and economic competitiveness tend to move on the same sliding scale. Study after study reveals survival chances increase in communities and nations with rising wealth and stability - just as young life is threatened by economic crisis and upheaval."

John Schmid reports for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel November 12, 2011.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/14/2011