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Infant Mortality

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the level of infant mortality was (a) in England and (b) in each English region in each year since 1997; what assessment she has made of the differences in infant mortality between different socio-economic groups; and what targets she has to reduce the level of infant mortality. (97690)

The level of infant mortality for England and for each English region for each year since 1997 is shown in the table.

Our assessment of the differences in infant mortality between different socio-economic groups reflects the infant mortality aspect of the Government's health inequalities public service agreement target which is:

by 2010 to reduce inequalities in health outcomes by 10 per cent. as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy at birth;

and specifically:

starting with children under one year, by 2010 to reduce by at least 10 per cent. the gap in mortality between routine and manual groups and the population as a whole.

Progress on the target is reported in “Tackling Health Inequalities: A Status Report on the Programme for Action”. It states that despite overall improvements in infant mortality rates, the relative gap between the routine and manual groups and the population as a whole has widened since 1997-99. It was 19 per cent. in 2002-04 compared to 13 per cent. higher in the baseline period of 1997-99.

Infant mortality rates are at an all-time low and the rates among the routine and manual group continue to fall.

Other targets that support the infant mortality target include:

reducing adult smoking rates from 26 per cent. in 2002, to 21 per cent. or less by 2010, with a reduction in prevalence among the routine and manual groups from 31 per cent. in 2002 to 26 per cent or less;

reducing the under-18 conception rate by 50 per cent. by 2010, as part of a broader strategy to improve sexual health.

Infant deaths and infant mortality rates for England and Government Office region, 1997-2005

England

North East

North West

Yorkshire and the Humber

East Midlands

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

1997

3,568

5.9

170

5.8

554

6.7

391

6.5

274

5.7

1998

3,392

5.6

145

5.0

510

6.3

412

6.9

273

5.6

1999

3,375

5.7

154

5.6

517

6.5

364

6.3

282

6.0

2000

3,180

5.6

171

6.5

473

6.2

410

7.3

245

5.4

2001

3,040

5.4

139

5.4

439

5.8

306

5.5

220

4.9

2002

2,967

5.2

125

4.8

403

5.4

340

6.1

252

5.6

2003

3,139

5.3

132

4.9

456

5.9

331

5.7

279

5.9

2004

3,025

5.0

126

4.5

438

5.4

347

5.8

235

4.9

2005

3,078

5.0

126

4.5

474

5.8

372

6.1

229

4.7

West MidlandsEastLondonSouth EastSouth West

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

1997

464

7.0

310

4.8

614

5.8

476

5.0

315

5.8

1998

424

6.5

322

5.0

627

6.0

421

4.4

258

4.8

1999

440

6.9

290

4.6

631

6.0

453

4.8

244

4.7

2000

416

6.8

270

4.4

565

5.4

397

4.4

233

4.7

2001

389

6.4

271

4.5

637

6.1

376

4.2

263

5.4

2002

403

6.6

259

4.3

581

5.5

394

4.5

210

4.3

2003

471

7.4

280

4.5

592

5.4

386

4.2

212

4.1

2004

415

6.3

267

4.2

592

5.2

368

3.9

237

4.5

2005

425

6.4

260

4.0

587

5.1

367

3.9

238

4.5

Notes:

1. Infant mortality rate is defined as deaths at ages under one year per 1,000 live births.

2. Figures for 2005 are provisional

Source:

Key Population and Vital Statistics, Vital Statistic Tables (Office for National Statistics)