Today, we start our series with the data on deaths in small children (<1s), presenting data for 2017-2023 based on ONS data on deaths registered weekly in England and Wales.
AGE GROUP < 1 yrs (Infants)
2020 saw 2,367 deaths in under one year olds: the lowest number of infant and child deaths since records began in 1980.
However, the data is affected by the variation in yearly live births, which differs substantially. For example, there were nearly 64,000 more births in 2017 than in 2020 (see ONS yearly totals) when the birth rate plummeted
Calculating mortality rates per 1000 live births shows little change in mortality in the last five years. The drop since 1980 is notable, but the last few years have seen an arrest in these declining rates.
The neonatal mortality rate ambition in England is 1.0 deaths per 1,000 live births for babies born at 24 weeks or over. In 2021, the rate was 1.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. So achieving the 2021 target would require at least 220 fewer neonatal deaths annually.
The ONS publishes infant mortality by ethnicity in England and Wales. There is a significant variation: in 2019, the rate among Black Carribeans was 7.8 deaths per 1,000 infants, more than twice the rate for white British infants (3.0 per 1000).
In 2020, there were 11 deaths in children aged 28 days to 15 years where the underlying cause was reported as covid-19 on the death certificate. In 2021, covid-19 appeared on the death certificates of 43 infants.
The changing denominators make it challenging to carry out any meaningful standardisation using the number of deaths. But Infant mortality has flatlined - bad news.
There’s also a large discrepancy in mortality rates by ethnicity, with babies from Black ethnic groups having the highest rates of stillbirths and infant deaths. We did not analyse the effect of social deprivation that contributes to this disparity. However, in most ethnic groups, immaturity-related conditions are the leading cause of death in this age group.
Pandemics are also destructive for the birth rate, and it isn’t just a UK effect: Lockdowns were linked to falls in the birth rates across Europe and the USA. Declining birth rates can be a bad sign for society as they distort the population dynamics and can negatively impact the economy.
We will update this post in roughly March next year - with a completely new population.
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It’s possible Keith yes. One of the problems with choosing denominators are the short term changes in the population. For example I read in the Times this morning that an estimated 700K refugees arrived in the UK in 22. However we cannot find further details as to their age, gender etc. But if it’s in the Times it’s got to be true!!!
My guess is that a huge increase in exposure to electromagnetic radiation as a result of the digital revolution is causing a fall in spermatozoa concentration. Couple this with a massively over medicated society and a increases in processed food consumption and we have a toxic soup.