Infant mortality rate down

25/10/2007 15:00

Last year, 820 children died in the Netherlands before they were one year old. This is the lowest number ever recorded by Statistics Netherlands. The infant mortality rate was 4.4 per one thousand live births. There are still significant differences in mortality between babies with a non-western and a native Dutch background.

Infant mortality 1990–2006

Infant mortality 1990–2006

Slow decline infant mortality

In the past century, infant mortality has declined markedly in the Netherlands. A century ago, one in eight children died before reaching the age of one year. Today’s rate is less than one in every 200. Since the mid-1990s, mortality among the very youngest has indeed declined, but only slowly. Last year, 185 thousand live births were registered and 820 infants died.

Infant mortality by ethnic background, 2003–2006

Infant mortality by ethnic background, 2003–2006

Higher rate among people with non-western background

Infant mortality declined marginally across all ethnic groups. The most substantial reduction was reported among people with a non-western background. Infant mortality in this group is, however, still significantly higher than among the native Dutch population. The highest mortality rates were observed among babies with at least one Antillean parent. Their risk of dying is approximately 50 percent higher than for native Dutch babies.

Infant mortality by age of the mother, 2003–2006

Infant mortality by age of the mother, 2003–2006

Infant mortality higher among young and old mothers

The high infant mortality rate among Antilleans is partly caused by the large number of teenage mothers in this ethnic group. Young Antillean mothers constitute a group marked by unfavourable socio-economic conditions and a high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases and these factors reduce the child’s chance of survival.
On the other hand, an above-average infant mortality rate is also typical of babies whose parents are in their early twenties.

Joop Garssen