New Zealand's infant mortality rate drops to record low

WELLINGTON, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) - New Zealand's infant mortality rate was down to a record-low of 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018, compared with 5 per 1,000 in 2008, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Tuesday.


(File photo: VCG)

Infant mortality for Maori dropped from 6.7 in 2008 to 4.9 in 2018, Stats NZ said.

These are some of the lowest-ever infant mortality rates for New Zealand's total and Maori populations. They are comparable with other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries' infant mortality rates, which range between 2.5 and 5 deaths per 1,000 live births with an average of 3.9, it said.

Britain's infant mortality rate is 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, the United States' is 5.9, Australia's is 3.1, while Iceland has the lowest rate at 0.7, statistics showed.

"Infant mortality rates are an important indicator of maternal and infant heath, as well as the overall health of the society," population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said in a statement, adding there were 219 infant deaths under one year of age and 33,225 deaths in total, and 58,020 live births registered in New Zealand in 2018.

Long-term trends show a continued fall in the infant mortality rate, Theyers said, adding strong declines in the late 1980s and 1990s partly reflected an educational campaign on sudden infant death syndrome.

Declines in the number of deaths of infants aged under 28 days were the main driver of New Zealand's decrease in infant mortality rates from the 1960s to the 1980s, he said.