Stable Infant Mortality in France after Decades of Decline

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Mortality rates of children in France is stable

Infant mortality has been stable in France for about ten years, after having fallen sharply throughout the twentieth century.

With 3.7 deaths of children under one year per 1000 live births, infant mortality has been stable in France for a decade , after falling sharply throughout the twentieth century, according to a study by ‘INSEE published Monday 25 June 2018.

In 2016, 2900 children under one year of age died in France for 784 000 births, a rate of 3.7 per 1000, identical to that of 2015 and close to that of 2005 (3.8).

Infant mortality is concentrated in the first days of life, with half of babies who died before their first birthday have lived less than a week.

The infant mortality rate is historically low. It declined throughout the twentieth century , despite some sharp increases at the time of the heat wave of the summer of 1911, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 and during the Second World War.

The infant mortality rate stood at 143 per thousand at the beginning of the twentieth century and was twice as low in the late 1930s. After the Second World War, it decreased steadily until 2005. Infant mortality has since this time about 35 times weaker than a century ago.

Near the European average

Since 2005, the decline in infant mortality has stalled and the rate remains stable around 3.5 per thousand in metropolitan France and 3.7 per thousand in France.



Mortality before seven days has increased slightly over the past ten years, while it continues to decline between 28 days and one year.

The seasonality of infant mortality, which was very strong between the 1960s and the end of the 1990s – with more deaths during the winter months – was significantly reduced.

The infant mortality rate is higher in the overseas departments (more than 9 per thousand in Mayotte and Guyana). In metropolitan France, it is in Haute-Vienne that it is the highest (5.4). On the other hand, it is less than 3 in all the departments of the Pays de la Loire and in the majority of those of Occitanie.

The average infant mortality rate in France is close to that observed in the 28 countries of the European Union (3.6 per thousand). Finland is the lowest (1.9), while Romania and Malta (7 or more) have the highest rates.

Unlike France, infant mortality has been declining since 2005 in almost all EU countries, including those where it was already low (from 3 to 1.9 in Finland, from 3.7 to 2.7 in Spain).

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