The Department of Health has today published an updated version of its annual mortality monitoring bulletin on infant mortality. These statistics have been released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
In 2008-10, the infant mortality rate in England and Wales (based on infant deaths successfully linked to their birth records) fell to 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births - the lowest three-year average infant mortality rate ever recorded for England and Wales.
In 2008-10, infant mortality rates remain higher than average for babies with fathers in routine and manual occupations (at 4.7 deaths per 1,000 live births), and for births registered by the mother alone (at 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births).
Infant mortality rates remained lowest for babies whose fathers were in managerial and professional occupations, at 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Since 2002-04, infant mortality rates have fallen across all socio-economic groups with a larger decrease in the Routine and Manual group, resulting in a narrowing of the social gradient. Between 2002-04 and 2008-10, rates fell by 20% in the Routine and Manual group, compared with 8% in the Managerial and Professional group.
The absolute gap in infant mortality rates between the Routine and Manual group and the average for all births with socio- economic group assigned has narrowed by 53% since 2002-04. The relative gap also narrowed by 46% over the same period.
This statistical release presents data on infant mortality rates for England and Wales by socio-economic group, based on the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC). It updates previously published figures to include the latest available three-year average figures (for 2008-10).
All figures in this bulletin are based on infant deaths that have been successfully linked to their corresponding birth records (covering 98 per cent of infant deaths in 2008-10). Figures for 2008-10 are provisional.
This bulletin follows the release by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of infant mortality data by social and biological factors for the single year 2010.
This document is the latest in a series of mortality monitoring bulletins published since 2007, initially to present data related to a former government target on inequalities in infant mortality. We plan to review the format and content of this bulletin before the next annual update in the light of the forthcoming Public Health Outcomes Framework.