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Putin Claims Infant Mortality Rate in Russia Lower Than in Europe

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

President of Russian Federation

“We have an infant mortality rate lower than in Europe.”

Statistics show Russia lags behind EU

On March 8, celebrating International Women's Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a maternity ward in the central Russian city of Bryansk.

The Kremlin website posted a video of the president’s conversation with doctors. Wearing a white coat – the traditional doctor's uniform in Russia – Putin praised demographic reforms implemented under his leadership and claimed that the infant mortality rate in Russia had fallen recently to a rate “lower than in Europe.”

However, data from international sources shows Putin is wrong.

According to the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), the infant mortality rate in Russia – meaning the probability of a child dying between birth and exactly one year of age – was 8.2 per 1,000 live births in 2015.

That was approximately three times higher than the estimated infant mortality rates of most EU countries in 2015. For instance, Austria had a rate of 2.9 per 1,000 live births; Belgium, 3.3; Czech Republic, 2.8; Denmark, 2.9; France, 3.5; Germany, 3.1; Iceland, 1.6; Sweden, 2.4; and the UK, 3.5.

IGME graph option makes it possible to compare data for different countries, and the screenshot below illustrates just how much higher the infant mortality rate in Russia is than in European countries.

Graph by IGME Infant Mortality Rate in Russia
Graph by IGME Infant Mortality Rate in Russia

The World Bank estimated Russia's infant mortality rate for 2015 at 8 per 1,000, while a majority of EU countries ranged between 2.4 and 4 per 1,000.