In the EU-28 in 2017, around 18 200 children died before reaching one year of age. This was equivalent to an infant mortality rate of 3.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the latest figures published by the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat).
The infant mortality rate is defined as the ratio of the number of deaths of children under one year of age to the number of live births in the reference year; the value is expressed per 1000 live births.
Image source: Eurostat.
The evolution shows that during the 10 years from 2007 to 2017, the infant mortality rate in the EU fell from 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births to 3.6 deaths per 1,000 live births; extending the analysis to the last 20 years, the infant mortality rate was almost halved (6.8 deaths per 1,000 in 1997).
Still, there are some clear differences among the Member States.
Cyprus and Finland recorded the lowest rates
In 2017, the highest infant mortality rates in the EU were registered in Malta and Romania (both 6.7 deaths per 1 000 live births) and Bulgaria (6.4 deaths), and the lowest in Cyprus (1.3 deaths) and Finland (2.0 deaths)
In 2017, in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries the infant mortality rates ranged from a minimum of 0 deaths per 1,000 live births in Lichtenstein (this very low value is influenced by the small population number of the country) to a maximum of 3.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in Switzerland.
The same year, all the candidate countries, except Montenegro, registered infant mortality rates higher than the EU-28 average, ranging from a minimum of 4.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in Serbia to a maximum of 9.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in both North Macedonia and Turkey.