Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 230–236 | Cite as

Emerging Lingo-Cultural Inequality in Infant Autopsy in Quebec, Canada

  • Nathalie AugerEmail author
  • Marianne Bilodeau-Bertrand
  • André Costopoulos
Original Paper


We investigated trends in infant autopsy for Francophones and Anglophones in Quebec, Canada. Using death certificates, we extracted 8214 infant deaths between 1989 and 2013. We computed rates of non-autopsy by language, socioeconomic disadvantage, age at death, and period. Using Kitagawa’s method, we decomposed non-autopsy rates over time for both language groups. Infant non-autopsy rates increased from 38.6 to 56.2 per 100 for Francophones, and from 41.2 to 57.2 per 100 for Anglophones, between 1989–1995 and 2008–2013. Trends in English-speakers were driven by socioeconomically disadvantaged Anglophones, and were accelerated by a larger proportion of deaths in this group over time. For French-speakers, rates increased in all socioeconomic groups. The increase in non-autopsy rates was larger at early neonatal ages for both languages. These findings suggest that disadvantaged Anglophones are less likely to use infant autopsy over time, and that rates can be improved by targeting early neonatal deaths.


Autopsy Cultural deprivation Infant death Language Socioeconomic factors 



This work was supported by Health Canada via the McGill Training and Retention of Health Professionals Project; and a Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé career award (34695).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Montreal Hospital Research CentreMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Institut national de santé publique du QuébecMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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