Third in a five-part series authored in partnership with Altarum entitled Michigan’s Path to a Prosperous Future: Challenges and Opportunities.
- Michigan’s population is less healthy than the national average and health outcomes have been declining relative to the rest of the nation. Michigan ranks below most states and most Midwestern neighbors in life expectancy, self-reported health status, and numbers of days impacted by poor physical or poor mental health. Michiganders also experience higher rates of disability and chronic disease. According to American’s Health Rankings’ compositive measure of health outcomes, Michigan ranked 32nd out of 50 states in 2008 and 39th in 2022.
- Beneath overall health outcomes are persistent disparities in health by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography. For example, Black infant mortality rates in Michigan are 2.7 times White rates and life expectancy by neighborhood varies by as much as 29 years.
- Michigan compares favorably to other states in the traditional health care sector, with low rates of uninsured, lower-than-average health care costs, and higher-than-average numbers of physicians per capita, although resources are not distributed equally across the state.
- Michigan’s public health system is less well funded compared to other states and has experienced a loss in experienced workforce coming out of the pandemic. Michigan consistently ranks in the bottom ten states for per capita public health spending, currently ranking 40th.
- Population and demographic trends present challenges and opportunities for Michigan’s health. The projected growth in older populations accompanied by projected declines in younger populations are trends that will challenge the availability of resources, workforce, and family caregivers to meet the health care and social support needs of an aging population. Efforts to retain and attract young people as well as long-term planning for these demographic shifts will be important in meeting these challenges. It also will be increasingly important to the overall health of the state to make significant progress in reducing disparities in health outcomes and in drivers of health, as populations of color are driving population growth.