Infant Mortality: Measurements Not Consistent
In international comparisons of infant mortality, the U.S. usually ranks behind most other countries, many of whom have socialized medicine (see chart above, click to enlarge). But do countries around the world measure infant mortality consisently and uniformly? Apparently not, see explanation below from a doctor:
The main factors affecting early infant survival are birth weight and prematurity. The way that these factors are reported — and how such babies are treated statistically — tells a different story than what the numbers reveal.
Low birth weight infants are not counted against the “live birth” statistics for many countries reporting low infant mortality rates.
According to the way statistics are calculated in Canada, Germany, and Austria, a premature baby weighing less than 500 kg is not considered a living child.
But in the U.S., such very low birth weight babies are considered live births. The mortality rate of such babies — considered “unsalvageable” outside of the U.S. and therefore never alive — is extraordinarily high; up to 869 per 1,000 in the first month of life alone. This skews U.S. infant mortality statistics.
Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. But when the main determinant of mortality — weight at birth — is factored in, Norway has no better survival rates than the United States.
Read more here.
Thanks to Craig Newmark for the pointer.