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UK child mortality rates - Green Building Forum


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UK child mortality rates

edited May 2015 in Free speech space
I was rather struck by this article:

saying that if Britain had the same child mortality rates as Sweden there'd be 2000 fewer deaths per year in children under 14. A quick check finds:

(why didn't I know about that site before?) which says that in Sweden there were, in 2011, 2.80 deaths amongst under 5s for every 1000 live births (down from 19.40 in 1960) and similarly in the UK there were 5.1 (down from 26.5) and that the UK live birth rate is 12.90 / 1000 of the population. Assuming a population in 2011 of 62e6 peeps that's 799800 per year for an under-five death rate of 4079 whereas with Sweden's rate it would be 2239 so an extra 1840 per year. Adding in the presumably lesser number of deaths from age 5 to 14, 2000 extra deaths per year seems entirely plausible.

The Guardian article and this one from the BBC:

point to the differences between the rates for the rich (or relatively so) and poor in this country mentioning lifestyle issues. What they don't mention is standards of housing which I can't help think is at least part of the story though it's probably difficult to say how much.


  • Not got time to go into this, but countries can count 'deaths' differently. This can affect figures.
    An example being that in the UK we have very low death rates in prison, because we move them all to hospital.
    A more interesting metric would be against health care spend per capita.
  • The only area of debate I can really see affecting these numbers much is the definition of a live birth. E.g., if a baby pops out with a beating heart but never starts breathing is that a live birth? After that keeping track of whether a child is dead or alive is something I'd expect the bureaucracies of both countries to manage adequately (unlike quite a lot of Africa, for example).

    Still, the main point is that UK child death rates are about the same as those in Sweden for the better off - it's the poorer parts of the population which disproportionally have a higher death rate

    Health care spending per capita is only a small part of the story. For starters, it's not necessarily evenly spread. Also, probably it's other factors which matter more.
  • It may be geographic as well. Urban versus rural. You may find that there is a greater discrepancy in wealth in urban areas, and the fraction to poor to rich is greater. There also has to be an upper limit to what health care, or for that matter housing, can 'buy' you in the way of life expectancy. Paying the same doctor or architect double will not change anything.
  • Posted By: SteamyTeaPaying the same doctor or architect double will not change anything
    It might but not necessarily.
  • edited May 2015
    Knowing the cause of death would help this discussion

    Further discussion here too;
  • More or Less covered this: notably the bit that our figures are much worse than lithuania, nominally the best country in the world for infant mortality, but that's mostly because countries count differently, and with differing diligence, which matters a lot as the numbers are quite small. (Can't find the actual episode sorry - just listen to them all - it's great :-)
  • Posted By: wookeyCan't find the actual episode sorry - just listen to them all - it's great :-)
    Yes, should be compulsory listen in all schools.
  • edited December 2016
    When you read statistics you have to understand how they counted.
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