Sharp decline in infant mortality since 2000

Young people and families | 29-09-2020 00:09 | Changed on 29-09-2020 00:09

Last year, 617 out of the 170 thousand live-born babies died in their first year. As a result, the infant mortality rate stood at 3.6 per thousand live births, versus 5.1 in 2000. The infant mortality rate was nearly three times the average among mothers under the age of 20. Infant mortality in the Netherlands is in line with the European Union average. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

Fifty-six percent of infant mortality occurs within 7 days from the day of birth. This goes up to 75 percent within the first 28 days. The remaining infant mortality (25 percent) occurs after the first 28 days and before the first birthday.

At the beginning of this century, each year still more than 1 thousand infants died in the first year. By 2015 the number stood at 561, with the infant mortality rate reaching its lowest level at 3.3 per thousand live births. Various factors have contributed to the decline in infant deaths, including a decreasing number of teenage mothers, improved prenatal screening and the decline in multiple pregnancies. In addition, previously established guidelines to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) continue to have a positive effect on preventing infant deaths.

More baby deaths among young mothers and over-45s

The infant mortality rate is by far the highest among women who were under the age of 20 when their child was born, averaging 10.3 per thousand live births between 2015 and 2019. Teenage mothers are comparatively more likely to be in an unfavourable socio-economic position, which is associated with lower infant survival rates. At 3.0 per thousand live births, the infant mortality rate is lowest among 30 to 34-year-old mothers. The infant death rate is higher again among mothers aged 40 and over.

Infant death rate in the Netherlands similar to EU level

In 2018, infant mortality in the Netherlands was equal to the EU average with 3.5 deaths per thousand live births. At 6.0, the death rate was highest in Romania and Bulgaria. Croatia, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Denmark also had higher infant mortality rates than the Netherlands. The rate was lowest in Estonia, Slovenia and Sweden, with 2.0 or fewer deaths per thousand live-born babies.