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Seminar "Inequality in infant mortality rate in the population of modern Russia"

On March 5, the regular seminar of the Modern Demography series was held. At the seminar, Evgeny Mikhailovich Andreev, head of the International Laboratory for Population and Health, presented the report "Inequality in the infant mortality rate among the population of modern Russia."

During his speech, E.M. Andreev presented the latest results of his study on the social differences in the infant mortality rate in modern Russia using the 2014-2016 cohort. The study was based on the  statistics on the deceased infants, which in addition to data on the age and cause of death also contain data on the order of birth, on the age, education and marriage status of the mother of the deceased baby.

The results of the analysis of the data showed that the minimum infant mortality rate is observed among second-order births, among mothers 25-29 years old, married and with higher education.

Perinatal conditions, congenital malformations, and external causes of death make the greatest contribution to the difference between the infant mortality rate (IMR) for children born to women without higher education and the IMR for children born to women with higher education.

IMR from such causes of death as perinatal conditions, congenital malformations for the children of women without higher education compared to other countries is much higher than in Europe and the USA. The proportion of deaths diagnosed with sudden infant death syndrome in Russia is higher than infant mortality in all educational groups. While in other countries the ratio of these indicators is the opposite, which indicates that this diagnosis can be used when the doctor cannot or does not want to find the real cause of death.

The comparison made with the results of previous studies showed that in 2014-2016 cohort differentiation of infant mortality by education and maternal status compared to those born in the late 1970s and late 1990s. increased. 

Perinatal conditions (this cause of death makes a significant contribution to inequality in mortality), more than 15 years ago, was recognized as preventable with an adequate level of medical care.

According to E.M. Andreev there are two possible explanations for the existence of inequality in infant mortality in Russia: 1) women with higher education and their loved ones are better prepared to exercise the right to choose a medical institution and a doctor; 2) the quality of medical care that a pregnant woman and a newborn child receive is significantly different for different social groups.

The study conducted by E.M. Andreev allowed both to fix the fact that in modern Russia there is a social inequality in infant mortality, and to show that the infant mortality rate, which is now observed in children born to women with higher education (4.1 per 1000), is a real achievable level infant mortality for Russia as a whole.

The report presented by E.M. Andreev aroused great interest of the audience. During the discussion, issues such as the possible impact of maternal health and the territorial availability of medical care were discussed.

The presentation of E.M. Andreev is available via the link (in Russian).

The paper detailing the results of the study will be published in the journal "Voprosy statistiki", Volume 27, No. 2 (2020).