Infant mortality is the death of children under the age of one year. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Overall, infant mortality rates have decreased greatly all over the world.
Infant mortality in the United States is mostly caused by birth defects, preterm birth and low birth weight, maternal pregnancy complications, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and injuries (such as suffocation). Around the world, the top causes for infant mortality are neonatal encephalopathy (problems with brain function due to lack of oxygen during birth), infections, complications of preterm birth, lower respiratory infections, and diarrheal diseases. Causes differ for infants that are only a few days old and for older infants. The mortality rate in the United States is 5.8. This rate is significantly higher than other, comparable developed countries, but the reason is more complicated that just the raw statistics. Infant mortality is defined differently in different countries. For example, some countries don't include stillborn babies as having been born or use a different definition of infant.
In countries of the world where infant mortality is high, several factors are attributed to necessitating these deaths. Among these are malaria, malnutrition, undeveloped infrastructure and poor conditions in health facilities.
Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate of 110.6. Much of Afghanistan is rural and recovering from years of conflict. Because communities are very spread out and most people travel by foot, accessing healthcare is very difficult, especially for pregnant women and young babies. There is also a significant lack of health education in Afghanistan, and so pregnancy complications are often untreated.
Monaco has the lowest infant mortality rate of 1.8. The reasons for such a low infant mortality rate include the overall extreme wealth of the small country, highly educated mothers and a good healthcare system.
Below is the infant mortality rate in every country. Rates are calculated as the number of infants deaths (under one year of age) per 1,000 live births.