Ranking of the 20 countries* with the highest infant mortality rate in 2014 (child deaths in the first year of life per thousand live births)

 Child deaths in the first year of life per 1,000 live births
Afghanistan 117.23
Mali 104.34
Somalia 100.14
Central African Republic 92.86
Guinea-Bissau 90.92
Chad 90.3
Niger 86.27
Angola 79.99
Burkina Faso 76.8
Nigeria 74.09
Sierra Leone 73.29
Democratic Republic of Congo 73.15
Mozambique 72.42
Equatorial Guinea 71.12
Liberia 69.19
South Sudan 68.16
Zambia 66.62
Gambia 65.74
Comoros 65.31
Burundi 63.44
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This statistic shows the 20 countries* with the highest infant mortality rate in 2014. An estimated 117 infants per 1,000 live births died in the first year of life in Afghanistan in 2014.


Infant and child mortality

Infant mortality usually refers to the death of children younger than one year. Child mortality, which is often used synonymously with infant mortality, is the death of children younger than five. Among the main causes are pneumonia, diarrhea – which causes dehydration – and infections in newborns, with malnutrition also posing a severe problem. As can be seen above, most countries with a high infant mortality rate are developing countries or emerging countries, most of which are located in Africa. Good health care and hygiene are crucial in reducing child mortality; among the countries with the lowest infant mortality rate are exclusively developed countries, whose inhabitants usually have access to clean water and comprehensive health care. Access to vaccinations, antibiotics and a balanced nutrition also help reducing child mortality in these regions.

In some countries, infants are killed if they turn out to be of a certain gender. India, for example, is known as a country where a lot of girls are aborted or killed right after birth, as they are considered to be too expensive for poorer families, who traditionally have to pay a costly dowry on the girl’s wedding day. Interestingly, the global mortality rate among boys is higher than that for girls, which could be due to the fact that more male infants are actually born than female ones. Other theories include a stronger immune system in girls, or more premature births among boys.

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