Friday, March 14, 2008

Correction: child mortality

My reach has exceeded my grasp. In a post in December I noted with dismay a government report apparently recording that child mortality had worsened under Labour.

It seems that I misunderstood. In that report, an indicator called ‘infant mortality’ was being used as one of many measures of deprivation. But it appears that - in line with the view of poverty as relative rather than absolute - what was actually being looked at was the difference in child mortality rates between socioeconomic groups.

A new report yesterday gives a clearer picture. Since Labour came to power, child mortality per 1000 live births has fallen, from 5.6 to 4.8 across the whole population. Among the ‘routine and manual’ socioeconomic group, the rate also fell, from 6.3 to 5.6.

The fall among the poorer group is a little less than the overall fall: so inequality in child mortality rates has increased since 1997 (although since 2002, it’s fallen).

That’ll teach me to speed-read fat PDFs. It’s something I’m happy to have been wrong about, though.

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