Infant mortality

The infant mortality rate is based on the number of children that die between birth and age one, per 1,000 live births. It is a common measure of population and healthcare quality but is also influenced by social, economic and environmental factors (OECD, 2014).

How does the overall UK infant mortality rate compare to individual UK countries?

The infant mortality rate for the UK and each country in the UK has been steadily decreasing since 1960 (Note: UK's rate is overlapping with England's so cannot be easily seen on the charts). The UK rate fell below 10 for the first time in 1984 and has decreased even further, to an all-time low of 3.9 in 2014.

All countries have followed a similar trend, with Scotland having the lowest rate of 3.3 in 2013; Northern Ireland with 3.5 in 2012; Wales with 3.6 in 2013 and England with 3.9 in 2014.

How has the infant mortality rate in UK countries changed in the last 15 years?

Here we look at the UK trend in infant mortality rate since 2000. Again, the rate for the UK and for each country has generally been decreasing.

Scotland has seen the biggest decrease from 5.7 in 2000 to 3.6 in 2014 and Northern Ireland the smallest with significant fluctuations, from 5 in 2000 to 4.8 in 2014. Overall the UK decreased by 1.7, from 5.6 in 2000 to 3.9 in 2014.

How does UK's infant mortality rate compare internationally?

We can see that infant mortality rate has been decreasing in most countries, with UK continuing to have a relatively high rate with 3.8 deaths per 1000 live births in 2013 when compared to other OECD countries. The country with the highest rate each year is the USA while Iceland, Finland and Sweden and have the lowest rates.

One of the Millenium development goals indicatorsUnited Nations Millennium Development Goals was to reduce child mortality by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015. UK started with an infant mortality rate of 7.9 in 1990 and should reduce it to 2.6 in 2015. The most recent data available suggests that UK has not yet met the two-thirds reduction target. The MDG goals have this year been replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals where maternal and child health remains part of one of the key goals (Goal 3 "Ensure health lives and promote well-being for all at all ages").

About this data

Notes for OSN data:

United Kingdom -  Infant and neonatal mortality rates for the United Kingdom are calculated by including births in Northern Ireland to non-residents in the denominator. 

Northern Ireland - The infant mortality and neonatal mortality rates for Northern Ireland represent the rate per 1,000 live births including non-Northern Ireland resident births.

For more information, see: ONS, Vital Statistics

For more information about OECD data and indicators, see: OECD.Stat


Add new comment