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8. Fewer children died of diseases and accidents than in the previous year

The death of a child has become ever rarer in Finland. During 2020, altogether 87 children under the age of one died, while in the year before the number was 95 and ten years earlier 138. In 2020, infant mortality, that is, mortality among children aged under one, was 1.9 children per 1,000 live-born children (Figure 15). More than one half of children dying during their first year of life die during their first week of life and three quarters during the first four weeks of life.

The most common causes of death among children under the age of one are perinatal reasons and congenital malformations (Table 4). In 2020, nearly 80 per cent of children died of these causes.

In 2020, there were three cot deaths, which was nine fewer than in 2019.

Accidental and violent causes of death are very rare among under one-year-olds. In the past ten years, on average two children aged under one have died of them per year. In 2020, two children were recorded under accidental and violent causes of death.

In 2020, there were 121 stillbirths, which was five fewer than in the year before. Stillbirths have decreased clearly from the 1990s. At the beginning of the 1990s, there were over 300 stillbirths per year. Stillbirths and deaths during the first week (or perinatal mortality) numbered 3.7 children per thousand births.

In 2020, a total of 58 children aged 1 to 14 died, which is over 10 fewer children than in the year before. Relative to the number of children, this makes around seven deaths per 100,000 children.

In 2020, the most common causes of death for children were neoplasms, various accidents, and diseases of the nervous system and sense organs. The number of children aged 1 to 14 who died accidentally and violently was 18, which is four fewer than in the year before. Over the past 20 years, total mortality among children has halved. Especially the number of deaths caused by neoplasms, congenital malformations and traffic accidents is clearly lower for children than before.

In 2020, there were two maternal deaths, i.e. maternal mortality was four deaths per 100,000 live-born children. In the past ten years, two to three women per year have died from reasons related to pregnancy or childbirth.

More information about mortality during the infant and perinatal periods can be found in Appendix table 3. More detailed information on causes of death among children aged under one and between one and 14 is available in the database tables.

Figure 15. Mortality during infant and perinatal period in 1992 to 2020

Figure 15. Mortality during infant and perinatal period in 1992 to 2020

Table 4. Causes of death among children under the age of one 2000, 2005, 2010, 2018, 2019 and 2020

2000 2005 2010 2018 2019 2020
Total deaths 205 179 138 99 95 87
Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period (P00-P96) 84 77 58 46 36 40
Congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities (Q00-Q99) 78 61 40 23 32 29
Sudden infant death syndrome (R95) 18 19 17 6 12 3
Diseases of circulatory system and respiratory system (J00-J99, I00-J99) 4 5 5 3 2 2
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (E00-E90) 5 6 3 8 5 4
Other diseases and unknown 13 9 11 12 6 7
Accidents and assault (V01-Y89) 3 2 4 1 2 2

Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 029 551 3605, Kati Taskinen 029 551 3648, Jari Hellanto 029 551 3291, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala


Updated 10.12.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2020, 8. Fewer children died of diseases and accidents than in the previous year . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 3.7.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2020/ksyyt_2020_2021-12-10_kat_008_en.html