, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 701–720 | Cite as

Infant Mortality Rate as a Measure of a Country’s Health: A Robust Method to Improve Reliability and Comparability

  • Robert M. GonzalezEmail author
  • Donna Gilleskie


Researchers and policymakers often rely on the infant mortality rate as an indicator of a country’s health. Despite arguments about its relevance, uniform measurement of infant mortality is necessary to guarantee its use as a valid measure of population health. Using important socioeconomic indicators, we develop a novel method to adjust country-specific reported infant mortality figures. We conclude that an augmented measure of mortality that includes both infant and late fetal deaths should be considered when assessing levels of social welfare in a country. In addition, mortality statistics that exhibit a substantially high ratio of late fetal to early neonatal deaths should be more closely scrutinized.


Health measurement Infant mortality rate Socioeconomic development 



We thank Roberto Martin Gonzalez, M.D., Charles Becker, and participants at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Cuban Economy (ASCE) for useful comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

13524_2017_553_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (281 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 280 kb)


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of North Carolina–Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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