Ranking of the 20 countries* with the highest infant mortality rate in 2016 (child deaths in the first year of life per thousand live births)

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Child deaths in the first year of life per 1,000 live births
Central African Republic88.4
Burkina Faso73.8
Sierra Leone70
Democratic Republic of Congo69.8
Equatorial Guinea67.2
South Sudan64.8
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About This Statistic

This statistic shows the 20 countries* with the highest infant mortality rate in 2016. An estimated 113 infants per 1,000 live births died in the first year of life in Afghanistan in 2016.

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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