Infant mortality highest among first-generation non-westerners

17/11/2009 15:00

In the period 2004-2005, perinatal mortality in children of people with a non-western background belonging to the first generation had grown by more than half compared to children of native Dutch parents. The highest perinatal and infant mortality rates were recorded among children of Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese mothers.

Perinatal death rate 50 percent higher

In 2004-2005, 13.6 in every thousand babies born to mothers with a non-western ethnic background belonging to the first generation died prior to, during or within a week after delivery. The rate is more than 50 percent higher than for native Dutch mothers who have a perinatal mortality rate of 8.8 per thousand births. The perinatal mortality rate for mothers with a non-western ethnic background belonging to the second generation was 11.8, an increase by 33 percent compared to native Dutch mothers. In other words, the infant mortality rate for mothers with a non-western background of the first and second generation was respectively 4.7 and 2.9 higher in the period around childbirth than for native Dutch mothers. Approximately 70 percent of perinatal mortality consists of stillbirths.
Remarkably, the perinatal mortality rate for mothers with a western foreign background of the first generation was marginally lower than for native Dutch mothers.

Perinatal mortality (pregnancy period 22 weeks or more, 2004-2005

Perinatal mortality (pregnancy period 22 weeks or more, 2004-2005

Infant mortality highest for children born of Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese mothers

With approximately 16.5 per thousand births, mothers of Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese descent had the highest perinatal mortality rate, i.e. 87 percent higher than for native Dutch mothers. Turkish mothers had a perinatal mortality rate more or less equal to that of native Dutch mothers.

Perinatal mortality among mothers with a non-western ethnic background, 2004-2005

Perinatal mortality among mothers with a non-western ethnic background, 2004-2005

Infant mortality also higher among mothers with a non-western ethnic background

Mortality in the first year after birth was also highest among children born of Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese mothers. The infant mortality rate in this group was 7.9 per thousand live births, i.e. 74 percent higher than for children born to native Dutch mothers (4.6 per thousand). The infant mortality rate for Turkish babies is almost equal to the rate for native Dutch babies.

The weight at birth of babies born to mothers with a foreign background is often too low compared to native Dutch babies. Surinamese, Antillean, Aruban and other babies born to non-western parents are frequently underweight. Proportionally, premature births are also more common among children of mothers of foreign descent. 

Infant mortality by ethnic background, 2004-2005

Infant mortality by ethnic background, 2004-2005

Albert-Jan Roskam