Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Infant Mortality Rates
Linda A. Treiber
Infants are particularly vulnerable to death in the first year of life. The infant mortality rate, which is a measure of infant deaths in a group younger than 1 year of age, is an important social barometer to the overall health of a community. Preserving the lives of newborns has been a long-standing issue in public health, social policy, and humanitarian endeavors. High infant mortality rates point to unmet human health needs in sanitation, medical care, nutrition, and education. The infant mortality rate is an age-specific ratio, used by epidemiologists, demographers, physicians, and social scientists to better understand the extent and causes of infant deaths. To compute last year's infant mortality rate in a given area, one would need to know how many babies were born alive in the area during the period, and how many babies born alive died before their first birthday during that time. Then the number ...