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

In 2017, altogether 101 children died under the age of one, when the corresponding number 20 years ago was over 200. In 2017, infant mortality was 2.0 per 1,000 live-born children (1997:3.9). The main causes of death among children under the age of one were perinatal reasons and congenital malformations (Table 5). In contrast, infectious diseases, accidents and violence were rare causes of death for children under the age of one.

In 2017, there were 143 stillbirths. The number of stillbirths has decreased clearly since the 1990s. Perinatal mortality (deaths during the first week and stillborn) was 3.9 per one thousand births. More than one-half of children dying during their first year of life died during their first week of life and nearly three out of four during the first four weeks of life (in the neonatal period). The main causes of death after the neonatal period are congenital malformations and cot deaths. The number of cot deaths has decreased in the 2000s. In 2017, five children suffered cot death, whereas in 2000 the corresponding number was 18. Cot deaths mostly occur to children over the age of one month.

The number of children who died aged 1 to 14 has also halved over the past twenty years. Fatal accidents (traffic accidents, drownings), in particular, occur to children less often than before. In 2017, the number of deaths among children was 81, which was almost the same number as in the previous year. This corresponds with approximately 10 deaths per 100,000 children. The most common causes of death among children were cancers and accidents.

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 2017, there were four maternal deaths, which meant that maternal mortality was 7.9 deaths per 100,000 live-born children.

More information about mortality during the infant and perinatal periods can be found in Appendix table 3.

Figure 13. Mortality during infant and perinatal period in 1992 to 2017

Figure 13. Mortality during infant and perinatal period in 1992 to 2017

Table 5. Causes of death among children under the age of one 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2017

  2000 2005 2010 2015 2017
Total deaths 205 179 138 96 101
Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period (P00-P96) 84 77 58 49 47
Congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities (Q00-Q99) 78 61 40 30 30
Sudden infant death syndrome (R95) 18 19 17 6 5
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 7
Other diseases and unknown 13 9 11 8 9
Accidents and assault (V01-Y89) 3 2 4 0 2

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 17.12.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2017, 7. Number of deaths of children has halved in 20 years . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.7.2024].
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