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Infant mortality at record low

Infant mortality at record low – Media release

The number of infant deaths and the infant mortality rate were at record lows in 2012, Statistics New Zealand said today. A total of 256 infant deaths (under one year of age) were registered in New Zealand during this period, down from 290 in 2011.

The infant mortality rate was 4.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012, down from 4.7 in 2011, and 5.6 in 2002.

"The infant mortality rate in 2012 was the lowest ever recorded in New Zealand," population statistics project manager Joel Watkins said.

The lower infant mortality was due to a decrease in the number of Māori infants dying (82 in 2012, down from 123 the year before). The mortality rate for Māori infants dropped to 4.7 in 2012, down from 7.0 in 2011.

The Māori neonatal mortality rate (infants under four weeks of age) was 2.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012, down from 3.2 in 2011. The Māori post-neonatal mortality rate (infants aged four weeks and over) also dropped. In 2012 there were 2.5 post-neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, down from 3.8 in 2011.

Because of the relatively small number of infant deaths each year, annual fluctuations should be treated with caution. Long-term trends show that the infant mortality rate has decreased more slowly in the last decade than in previous eras. The rate declined from 28.4 in 1952, to 15.6 in 1972, and to 7.2 in 1992.

For more information about these statistics:
• Visit Births and Deaths: Year ended December 2012

• Open the attached files

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