June 16, 2024

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 25 countries with lowest rates of infant mortality. If you do not want to learn about the global disparities in infant mortality, head straight to the 5 Countries with Lowest Rates of Infant Mortality.

Infant mortality rates serve as a critical indicator of a nation’s healthcare system’s efficacy and societal well-being. By examining these nations, we can glean insights into various factors contributing to the well-being of infants, such as access to healthcare, nutrition, education, and socioeconomic conditions.

Global Perspective on Infant Mortality 

The global infant death market encompasses the tragic reality of infant mortality worldwide. As of 2021, approximately 5 million children under the age of 5 die globally each year, with neonatal deaths accounting for a significant portion of these losses. The decline in neonatal mortality has been slower compared to post-neonatal under-5 mortality rates, highlighting a critical area for improvement in healthcare services and newborn care. 

In the United States, the infant mortality rate is notably lower than the global average. In 2022, the U.S. had an estimated infant mortality rate of around 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. This figure reflects a substantial improvement compared to the global average and reflects the importance of quality healthcare services and access to medical interventions in reducing infant mortality rates. 

The leading causes of infant mortality globally include infectious diseases such as acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, and malaria, along with complications from pre-term birth, birth asphyxia, trauma, and congenital anomalies. These health challenges continue to claim the lives of many infants under 5 years old. Access to essential interventions like skilled delivery at birth, postnatal care, breastfeeding support, proper nutrition, vaccinations, and treatment for common childhood illnesses is crucial in saving young lives. 

When considering child mortality rates by region, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest infant mortality rate in the world (averaging at 27 deaths per 1000 live births), closely followed by Central and Southern Asia, where the average infant mortality rate is 23 deaths per 1,000 births. Out of an average of 6,700 infant deaths per day, 36% happen in Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in countries such as Mozambique, Mali, Angola, and Benin, among others. 

Global Disparities in Infant Mortality: Unveiling Root Causes and Regional Trends 

The International Journal of Scientific Research & Technology sheds light on Afghanistan’s harrowing status as the country with the highest rates of infant mortality, primarily attributed to poor nutrition. Shockingly, approximately 55% of Afghan children under 12 suffer mental and physical incapacities due to inadequate diet, exacerbated by hostile security environments and political unrest stifling economic growth. 

Furthermore, the WHO Regional Office for Africa shows how poverty and limited health awareness in African countries heighten the peril for birthing mothers and their infants. This vicious cycle perpetuates as women, plagued by nutrition deficiencies, give birth to babies with poor health and physical defects, exacerbating infant mortality rates. 

While global efforts have made significant strides in child survival, UNICEF’s latest report paints a grim picture with an under-five mortality rate of 38 deaths per 1,000 live births. Niger stands out with the highest under-five mortality rate globally, reaching 115.15 deaths per 1,000 births, closely followed by Nigeria and Chad. In contrast, OECD countries like Colombia and Mexico face their own challenges, with Colombia having the highest child mortality rate in the organization, and Mexico struggling with a neonatal death rate of 12.9 deaths per 1,000 births. 

Amidst global disparities, OECD nations like Iceland, Estonia, Finland, Japan, and Norway exhibit infant mortality rates below 2.5, highlighting the impact of strong healthcare systems and socioeconomic stability on infant well-being. 

In high infant mortality countries, enhancing child health requires accessible childbirth facilities, maternal nutrition education, and addressing poverty’s impact. Notable companies like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) are investing in childcare, with Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) playing a pivotal role in the infant health sector. 

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), a leading pharmaceutical company with over 150,000 employees worldwide, has been instrumental in supporting infant and childcare. Notable initiatives include establishing childcare centers, offering adoption and fertility benefits, and supporting special needs assistance. Through partnerships with organizations like Save the Children, they aim to improve child health globally, focusing on newborn survival and refugee children. A $30 million commitment in 2014 targeted high newborn mortality countries like Nigeria and Ethiopia. Financially, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) reported strong fiscal Q1 2024 results, with sales reaching $21.4 billion and net earnings increasing by 28%. Adjusted EPS rose by 11.7%, surpassing estimates, with full-year expectations of an adjusted EPS range of $10.55-10.75 and reported sales between $87.8-88.6 billion. 

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), headquartered in Illinois, has a longstanding commitment to children’s health through innovations in nutrition and pediatric healthcare. Noteworthy contributions include developing science-based nutrition products and creating advanced medical devices for pediatric care. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) also supports responsible infant formula marketing aligned with WHO guidelines. With a global presence and strategic acquisitions, such as Tendyne Holdings Inc. and Alere, Abbott demonstrates leadership in healthcare solutions. Financially, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) expects earnings per share between $3.20 to $3.40 and adjusted earnings per share between $4.50 to $4.70 for fiscal 2024, with sales increasing by 1.5% reported and 2.1% organic in Q1 2024. Full-year guidance includes organic sales growth of 8.0% to 10.0% for 2024, excluding COVID-19 testing-related sales. 

25 Countries with Lowest Rates of Infant Mortality25 Countries with Lowest Rates of Infant Mortality

25 Countries with Lowest Rates of Infant Mortality

Karen H. Ilagan/Shutterstock.com

Our Methodology 

For our methodology, we have ranked the countries with the lowest rates of infant mortality based on total deaths per 1000 live births in 2023. For the accuracy of data, we relied on the CIA.  

Here is our list of the 25 countries with the lowest rates of infant mortality.

25. Luxembourg 

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3.2  

Luxembourg boasts one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates, reaching 2.2 deaths per 1000 live births in 2021. Despite this low rate, infant deaths, although rare, are typically attributed to congenital anomalies, premature birth complications, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), infections, and accidents. 

24. Belgium  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3.2  

Belgium has achieved significant success in reducing infant mortality rates, reporting a rate of 2.9 per thousand live births in 2021, marking a 46% decrease since 1998. Despite this positive trend, 359 infant deaths were recorded in 2021, mainly among infants born to registered mothers. Common causes of infant mortality in Belgium include prematurity, congenital anomalies, infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  

23. France 

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3.1  

France boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates globally, with fewer than four newborns per 1,000 dying before their first birthday in 2023. This improvement contrasts starkly with historical data from the eighteenth century when almost one in three babies didn’t survive their first year, primarily due to infectious diseases. Despite challenges like industrial development and epidemics in the nineteenth century, France saw consistent decreases in infant deaths due to asepsis practices and public health policies.  

22. Germany 

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3.1  

In Germany, infant mortality rates have steadily declined, with a decrease of 0.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2021 compared to the previous year, reaching 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, making Germany stand among the countries with lowest rates of infant mortality. This improvement reflects broader progress, as evidenced by a significant reduction from 340 deaths per thousand births in 1800. Financial statistics reveal key demographic indicators, including an under-five mortality rate of 3.6 deaths per 1,000 live births and a 91% vaccination rate for essential vaccines.  

21. Italy  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3.1  

Italy boasts remarkably low rates of infant mortality, with an infant mortality rate of 3.1 deaths per thousand live births in 2023, well below the European Union average. However, there are disparities, with a 55% higher neonatal mortality rate observed in foreign children compared to Italian children. Despite the overall low rates, there were still 713 neonatal deaths in 2020, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to reduce infant mortality. Common reasons for infant deaths include neonatal respiratory distress and prematurity, with Southern Italy experiencing higher mortality rates. 

20. Australia  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3 

Australia has made significant progress in reducing infant mortality, with the rate dropping to 3 deaths per 1,000 live births as of 2023. In 2022, there were 958 infant deaths, reflecting a decline from the previous year. Leading causes of infant deaths include injuries, cancer, and nervous system diseases for children aged 1-14 years.  

19. Anguilla 

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3 

Anguilla stand among the countries with the lowest infant mortality rates globally, with only 3 deaths per 1,000 live births as of 2023. Despite this success, preventable causes such as prematurity, low birth weight, birth defects, and infections remain common reasons for infant deaths. Ensuring access to quality prenatal and postnatal care, skilled birth attendants, and promoting healthy practices like breastfeeding are crucial for further reducing infant mortality rates in the country. 

18. Switzerland  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3 

Switzerland boasts remarkably low infant mortality rates at 3 deaths per 1000 live births. Common causes of infant deaths include congenital anomalies, premature birth complications, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), infections, and respiratory issues, addressed through advanced medical care and public health initiatives. Despite the low rates, Switzerland maintains a stable demographic profile with an average crude birth rate of 9-10 per 1,000 people and a total fertility rate of 1.39 to 1.52.  

17. Denmark  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3 

Denmark stands among the countries with lowest rates of infant mortality, with mortality rate of 3 deaths per 1000 live births in 2023 and an under-five child mortality rate of 3.6 deaths per 1000 live births in 2021. These figures reflect the country’s strong healthcare system and social support structures, placing Denmark among the nations with the lowest infant and child mortality rates globally

16. Israel  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 3 

Israel has made significant progress in reducing infant mortality rates, with a decline to 3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2023. In 2021, there was a decrease of 0.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. Common reasons for infant deaths include low birth weight and perinatal disorders, prompting efforts to improve neonatal and antenatal care. The focus remains on reducing neonatal mortality rates during the first six days of life. 

15. Korea, South  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.8 

South Korea maintains remarkably low infant mortality rates, with a reported rate of 2.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2023, showcasing significant improvement. However, in 2020, 387 infant deaths were recorded, resulting in a mortality rate of 2.5 per 1,000 childbirths, highlighting the ongoing need for efforts to safeguard infant health.  

14. Czechia 

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.6  

Czechia boasts notably low infant mortality rates, with an infant mortality rate of 2.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. Common reasons for infant deaths include congenital anomalies, prematurity, and respiratory issues, addressed through advanced medical care and early interventions.  

13. Hong Kong 

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.5  

Hong Kong has made a great progress in reducing infant mortality rates, with the current rate standing at 2.5 deaths per 1000 live births in 2023. A study spanning from 1956 to 1990 also highlights a substantial drop in infant mortality rates from 60.9/1000 in 1956 to 5.9/1000 in 1990. Despite Hong Kong’s population size, the actual count of infant deaths is relatively low compared to other nations. 

12. Portugal  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.5  

Portugal has made significant strides in reducing infant mortality rates, with a 7.41% decline in 2021 compared to the previous year. Recent data from 2023 indicates an infant mortality rate of 2.6 deaths per 1000 live births, placing Portugal among the countries with one of the lowest rates of infant mortality globally

11. Spain  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.4  

Spain has consistently maintained a low infant mortality rate of 2.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in recent years, ranking eleventh among the countries with lowest rates of infant mortality. This reflects a high standard of child health, evidenced by the high percentage of infants receiving essential vaccines. 

10. Sweden  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.3  

Sweden stands among the countries with low rates of infant mortality, with recent statistics showing as low as 2.3 deaths per 1000 live births. In the 1800s, Sweden’s child mortality rate was 381 deaths per thousand births, indicating significant progress in healthcare and social services contributing to lower mortality rates today. 

9. Bermuda 

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.2  

Bermuda stands out globally for its exceptionally low infant mortality rate of 2.2 deaths per 1000 live births. With an extremely low number of infant deaths, Bermuda demonstrates a robust healthcare system and effective public health initiatives prioritizing infant and maternal well-being. 

8. Belarus  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.1  

Belarus has achieved remarkably low rates of infant mortality, with a positive trend shown by a decrease of 2.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2023. Despite a population size of around 9.5 million people, the total number of infant deaths remains relatively low. High indicators include 98% of children under age 5 receiving the third dose of DTP-containing vaccine and 99% of women receiving postnatal care within 2 days of giving birth. These statistics reflect Belarus’s continuous efforts to improve child health outcomes. 

7. Finland  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 2.1  

Finland has low infant mortality rate of 2.1 deaths per 1,000 live births due to its robust healthcare system and social support structures. Despite facing challenges such as prematurity and congenital anomalies, the country’s proactive healthcare system effectively addresses these issues. Social welfare systems provide financial assistance to families with infants, contributing to overall well-being and reducing infant mortality rates. 

6. Japan  

Total Deaths per 1,000 Live Births: 1.9  

Japan stands sixth among the countries with lowest infant mortality rates globally, with a mortality rate of 1.9 per 1,000 live births in 2023. Factors contributing to this low rate include universal access to care, maternal-child health handbooks, and high rates of births attended by qualified professionals. Government subsidies for medical complications further reduce infant deaths by ensuring access to necessary healthcare services. 

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Disclosure. None: The 25 Countries with Lowest Rates of Infant Mortality is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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