Published On: 10 November 2023Tags: , , ,
  • Black babies in England three times more likely to die than White babies
  • Inequalities between rich and poor areas and White and Black communities widening

New figures reveal alarming inequalities in infant mortality rates between ethnic groups in England, with Black babies nearly three times more likely to die than White babies.

The annual data from the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) shows that while the death rate for White infants has remained steady at around 3 per 1,000 live births since 2020, the rate for Black infants has risen sharply from just under 6 to almost 9 per 1,000.

Overall, 50 more black infants died in the year to April 2023 compared to the previous year. Infant mortality rates in the poorest neighborhoods also rose to double those in the richest areas.

These figures reveal racism, poverty and pressure on the NHS are driving inequalities and must be addressed to prevent future deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated strains on health services. Over a quarter of child deaths reviewed in this research showing missed opportunities for intervention.

With child mortality increasing two years in a row, and now at its highest since the database began in 2019, urgent action is needed. Widening inequalities between ethnic and economic groups indicate the health of England’s children is deteriorating.

Policymakers, healthcare leaders and communities must work together to tackle the root causes of this crisis. All children have a right to the best possible chance at life, regardless of their ethnicity or background. Closing the gap in infant mortality rates must become a national priority.

Read the research here.