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7. Number of deaths of children has halved in 20 years

In 2016, altogether 103 children died under the age of one, which was seven more than in the year before. Infant mortality was 2.0 per 1,000 live-born children. The main causes of death among children under the age of one were perinatal reasons and inborn malformations (Table 5). Infectious diseases, accidents and violence are rare causes of death for infants.

In 2016, there were 159 stillbirths, which was slightly fewer than in the year before (2015: 172 children). Perinatal mortality (deaths during the first week and stillborn) was 4.1 per thousand births. More than one-half of children dying during their first year of life died during their first week of life and nearly 70 per cent during the first four weeks of life (in the neonatal period). The main causes of death after the neonatal period are inborn malformations and cot deaths. In 2016, eight children suffered cot death, whereas in 2015 the corresponding number was six. Cot deaths mostly occur to children over the age of one month.

The number of children who died aged 1 to 14 has halved over the past twenty years. Fatal accidents (traffic accidents, drownings), in particular, occur to children less often than before. In 2016, the number of deaths among children was 82, which was 15 more than in the previous year. This corresponds with approximately 10 deaths per 100,000 children. The most common causes of death among children were cancers, inborn malformations and chromosomal alterations.

Over the past ten years, an average of three women per year have died from reasons related to pregnancy or childbirth. The year 2011 was the first year in the history of the statistics on causes of death when there were no maternal deaths. In 2016, there were three maternal deaths, which meant that maternal mortality was 5.7 deaths per 100,000 live-born children.

More information about mortality during the infant and perinatal periods can be found in Appendix table 4.

Figure 13. Mortality during infant and perinatal period in 1992–2016

Figure 13. Mortality during infant and perinatal period in 1992–2016

Table 5. Causes of death among children under the age of one 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2016

  2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
Total deaths 205 179 138 96 103
Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period (P00-P96) 84 77 58 49 46
Congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities (Q00-Q99) 78 61 40 30 35
Sudden infant death syndrome (R95) 18 19 17 6 8
Diseases of circulatory system and respiratory system (J00-J99, I00-J99) 4 5 5 1 1
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (E00-E90) 5 6 3 2 6
Other diseases and unknown 13 9 11 8 7
Accidents and assault (V01-Y89) 3 2 4 0 0

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 029 551 3605, Jari Hellanto 029 551 3291, Kati Taskinen 029 551 3648,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

Updated 29.12.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2016, 7. Number of deaths of children has halved in 20 years . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 6.12.2023].
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