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Infant Mortality Rate

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An Introduction to Infant Mortality

Sustainable Development Goal - 3 is related to " Good health and well being " which has 13 targets as well as 28 indicators that the World needs to achieve by 2030. Target 3.2 is related to the end of all types of preventable deaths of under 5 years of age. According to the World Health Organization, the IMR is reducing worldwide. In reality, it is not even close to achieving the SDG targets on time. In this article, we will cover infant mortality meaning, what is the infant mortality rate, IMR formula, causes & measures etc. This concept helps in analyzing the various health and other facilities such as education, food & nutrition, etc. provided in the country.

Infant mortality is the rate at which the death of young children takes place under the age of 1. It refers to the death of an infant dying under 1 year of age given a particular time period. This rate is calculated by IMR, an abbreviated form of infant mortality rate. This shows us the probability of the rate of death of young children under one year of age per 1000 live births.

The Formula Applied for the Calculation of IMR is as below:

IMR = the number of infant mortality/the number of infants in mid-year × 100.

In the year 2019, the mortality rate in India was about 28.3 deaths per 1000 live births which was a significant decrease from the previous year.

Let's discuss some of the causes of infant mortality rate and what can be done to prevent the same:-

What is the Infant Mortality Rate?

The infant mortality rate is the rate that defines the number of deaths of children before their first birthday. This means it shows the data of younger age groups i.e less than one year. This rate acts as a physical health indicator of the human community. High IMR shows poor health conditions are there in the country along with other requirements which play a vital role in developing the good health of the child. This rate helps in understanding the causes as well as the extent of deaths of infants in a particular region.

What is the IMR Formula?

To calculate the IMR, we need to know the number of children born alive as well as the number of children who were born alive but died under one year of age. Then the number of deaths of the infants are divided by the number of infants born and the given result will be multiplied by 1000 so that we can get a standard result at the end. Besides this, it can be multiplied by 10,000 or 1,000,000 on the basis of desired comparing level. The following formula will define infant mortality rate:

\[IMR = \frac{\text{No.of deaths of children less than one year of age}}{\text{Number of live births in the same year}} \times 1000\]

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This map defines the infant mortality rate in the world as per the data of 2017. According to the World Health Organization, Globally, the infant mortality rate has decreased from an estimated rate of 65 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 29 deaths per 1000 live births in 2018. Annual infant deaths have declined from 8.7 million in 1990 to 4.0 million in 2018.

Causes of Infant Mortality Rate

Some of the causes of infant mortality are mentioned as below:-

  • The leading cause of infant mortality is birth defects. Other leading causes also include congenital malformations, pneumonia, asphyxia etc.

  • Poor water quality and sanitation malnourishment of the Infant and inadequate Medical and prenatal care are also some of the main causes of infant mortality. 

  • Preventable causes of Infant mortality rate include smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy, lack of prenatal care and usage of drugs are sure to cause severe complications during pregnancy.

  • Sudden infant death syndrome, preterm birth and low birth weight, birth defects injuries and suffocation and maternal pregnancy complications are also some of the causes of infant mortality.

  • It is caused by birth defects along with babies being born such as cleft lip & palate, down syndrome, as well as heart defects, etc.

  • Premature births of children are also one of the major reasons. If the birth of the children happens before 37 weeks, it can be called preterm birth which can cause various health problems. Due to this, the low weight of the babies during birth is also one of the reasons.

  • It is caused at the time of the birth children are dying because sometimes proper treatment or care is not given to the baby or after the birth.

  • Infections and lack of breathing are also the causes of infant mortality.

  • It is caused by premature birth in which the baby is taking birth before the time.

  • One of the reasons is sudden infant death syndrome. This child dies in their sleep without any symptoms of it.

  • Due to malnutrition infant mortality is there. If any woman does not take proper nutrients and vitamins which is necessary for the development of the body then it will adversely affect the growth of the children.

  • The environment also has an impact on infant mortality. If the environment of the place is not good and pollution-free then there will be more chances of deaths.

  • At the time of war, it is also the reason for infant mortality because where the war begins, at that type of place women having babies are taking the stress and it gives a bad impact on the body and its fetus.

  • Some trauma is also caused by the deaths of children that are happening at an early age like physical and mental abuse of a child. 

Preventive Measures

We have learned the meaning of infant mortality rate along with its formula and causes. Let's find out some measures which can help us in reducing the IMR. These measures are given below:

  • The government and its various organizations play a vital role in reducing the IMR. The policies or programmes implemented by the government can help in addressing the issues that lead to infant mortality. 

  • The government can play a prominent role in providing vital education in this regard, improving the health sector, especially in the rural areas.

  • Improving hygiene as well as good air quality along with controlling the water pollution can act as a positive contributor factor.

  • Improvement in the food supplies needs to be done. Free or low prices necessary food supplies should be distributed by keeping the nutrition demands in mind. Especially, women's health & diet needs to be taken care of.

  • According to UNESCO, washing hands with soaps after using the toilets or before eating can help in saving a lot of children's lives.

  • Prenatal care, as well as regular check-ups during pregnancy, should be taken care of so that the baby takes birth without complications.

  • Taking supplementation by the mother such as folic acid can help in reducing one of the major causes i.e. chances of birth defects.

  • No usage of any kind of alcohol or tobacco should be taken by the mother during pregnancy because it can cause serious problems such as preterm birth, low weight etc. which leads to infant mortality.

  • After birth, breastfeeding for 6 months should be provided to the child because it lowers the chances of infant mortality. Providing good and nutritious food to the child helps to keep him healthy. 

  • The required vaccinations should be provided to the children at a specified time as per the guidelines. It will even help to reduce the chances by 50% of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

  • Besides all these, education is the key to all the improvements. Awareness should be socialized regarding this concept which includes its education, health, hygiene & vaccinations etc.

  • Prenatal care and maternal health can help in reducing complications during pregnancy.

  • Proper nutrition intake provided to newborns and infants can avoid health complications during their early childhood. For infants, the best source of Nutrition is breastfeeding.

  • Development of social-economic factors and improvement of Health Services, sanitation habits can ensure good quality of life and proper development and survival.

  • It is also very much necessary to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Every woman including adolescence must have access to safe abortion services to the full extent of the law, post-abortion care and access to contraceptives.


Thus, to conclude the discussion we can say that IMR defines the deaths of young children or we can say infants before the completion of one year or before their first birthday. The higher IMR shows the failure of the health community and society to support healthy births of children. In this article, we have read what is infant mortality, what do you mean by infant mortality rate, its causes and measures, etc. To fight this problem, the suggested measures should be taken especially the health of the mother should be taken care of along with providing prenatal care and spreading awareness.

We have comprehensively covered what is infant mortality rate and its related aspects. Let's check out and solve a few questions related to this concept:

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FAQs on Infant Mortality Rate

1. What are the 10 leading causes of infant mortality?

Causes of death of Infants are neonatal disorders, malaria, lower respiratory effect, whooping, sexually transmitted disease,  diarrhoeal diseases, HIV AIDS, tuberculosis meningitis. In 2019 most cases of infant mortality are due to the cause of neonatal disorders, also among the main causes of infant mortality were diarrhoeal diseases,  malaria, and lower respiratory infections.

2. What is the difference between infant mortality and child mortality rate?

Infant mortality means the death of young children under the age of one whereas child mortality refers to the death of children under the age of five. Under 5 mortality contains an important component of infant mortality. Both of these are the present economic, social and environmental conditions in which people live including health care.

3. What causes child mortality?

Child mortality is generally caused by infections and disorders which also includes birth defects, premature birth, diseases like sepsis and malaria malnutrition, birth complications diarrhea, and newborn infections. In underdeveloped countries or less developed countries, the main cause of child mortality is malnutrition.

4. What is the difference between mortality and morbidity?

Mortality refers to death; various morbidity is a disease or an illness that often refers to chronic or long-term diseases. Morbidity conversion over time can lower the quality of one's life. A person may Incur several morbidities. Morbidities do not necessarily cause death.

5. Where can I find concept pages for my syllabus topics?

You can find concept pages for your syllabus topics on Vedantu's official site. Vedantu provides a variety of learning aids for you to choose from and enhances the development of your concepts in a more concrete way. You can prepare for any exam whether academic or competitive by referring to the official website of Vedantu as here the experts provide you with detailed explanations of your syllabus topics.

6. What do you mean by Infant Mortality Rate?

The rate of children who die before their first birthday is called the rate of infant mortality. It shows the record of younger children who are less than 1 years old. It is the rate which shows the number of deaths of the children at 1 year per 1,000 live births. It is important for the health of the country. If any country has a lower infant mortality rate then they have a high standard of health whereas high IMR defines the poor health structure of the country.

7. Define Infant Mortality Rate. What are the causes of Infant Mortality?

Infant mortality rate or we can say IMR is the number of deaths of infants for every 1,000 live births. It gives us information about maternal & infant health and it is important for the health of the country and society. There are some causes of the infant mortality rate that are malnutrition, early childhood trauma, infections, diseases, low weight, birth defects, premature birth, because of the war in which mother having baby taking the stress and it gives bad impact on the health of the baby, because of the bad environment it has happened, sometimes children have not given proper treatment and care after their birth. 

8. What measures can be taken to reduce Infant Mortality?

There are some measures to reduce infant mortality that the government should take important steps in this regard. They have to give the knowledge to the people about this, especially in rural areas. By improving environmental habits and controlling air and water pollution, we can reduce the infant mortality rate. Food supplies should be done properly that is necessary for the nutrition of the women. Proper sanitation and hygiene should help in this. Regular check-ups, no use of alcohol, breastfeeding should be done for 6 months, regular vaccinations should be given to the children as per the guidelines.