Infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of newborns dying
under a year of age divided by the number of live births during the
year times 1000. The infant mortality rate is also called the infant
death rate. It is the number of deaths that occur in the first year
of life for 1000 live births.
In past times, infant mortality claimed a considerable percentage
of children born, but the rates have significantly declined in the
West in modern times, mainly due to improvements in basic health
care, though high technology .
Infant mortality rate is commonly included as a part of standard
of living evaluations in economics.
Comparing infant mortality rates
The infant mortality rate correlates very strongly with and is among
the best predictors of state failure.
IMR is also a useful indicator of a country's level of health or
development, and is a component of the physical quality of life index.
But the method of calculating IMR often varies widely between
countries based on the way they define a live birth and how many
premature infants are born in the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a live birth as any
born human being who demonstrates independent signs of life,
including breathing, voluntary muscle movement, or heartbeat. Many
countries, however, including certain European states and Japan, only
count as live births cases where an infant breathes at birth, which
makes their reported IMR numbers somewhat lower and raises their
rates of perinatal mortality.
For the world, and for both Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and
More Developed Countries (MDCs), IMR declined significantly
between 1960 and 2001. World infant mortality rate declined from
126 in 1960 to 57 in 2001.
The Infant Mortality Rate for Less Developed Countries (91) was
about 10 times as large as it was for More Developed Countries (8).
For Least Developed Countries, the Infant Mortality Rate is 17
times as high as it is for More Developed Countries.
What Are The Main Causes…..
Some of the most common reasons for infant
mortality is due to Low Birth Weight, include
respiratory distress syndrome, which may involve
atelectasis (collapsed Lungs), hypoxemia (low
oxygen absorption), and high carbon dioxide
levels. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS),
and lack of the essentials of life, i.e., adequate
food, warmth, shelter, and water, all contribute to
infant mortality. In a typical population, the
mortality rate is higher among male infants than
female infants, mainly because male births are also
The greatest risk factors for LBWs include
smoking while pregnant, and teen pregnancies.
More than 12% of smokers give birth to LBW
babies, and LBW is the primary cause of neonatal
Infanticide, child abuse, child abandonment, and
neglect may also contribute to infant mortality.
Related statistical categories:
Prenatal mortality only includes deaths between the foetal
viability (22 weeks gestation) and the end of the 7th day after
Neonatal mortality only includes deaths in the first 28 days
Postneonatal mortality only includes deaths after 28 days of
life but before one year.
Child mortality includes deaths within the first five years
Other reasons for Infant Mortality Rate
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Infant mortality Rate in India, over the years
IMR in Indian States
State having Lowest IMR…..
Kerala – 14 per 1000 live births
States having highest IMR’s…..
Uttar Pradesh - 83 per 1000 live births
Orissa – 96 per 1000 live births
There is a lot of evidence that IMR can be brought down by
higher literacy rates(especially for women) and better primary
health care services.
As part of its broader efforts to reduce infant mortality, the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies support a wide range of
outreach and education efforts aimed at reducing behavior that increases
the risks of infant mortality. These efforts include:
Folic acid campaign
"Back to Sleep" campaign
By Reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission
By Providing Maternal and Child Health Services