The infant mortality rate is calculated by dividing the number of infants who die within one year of birth by the number of infants who are born. The infant mortality rate is usually expressed as the ratio of infant deaths per one thousand live births.
Prior to 1900, infant mortality rates of two and three hundred obtained throughout the world. The infant mortality rate would fluctute sharply according to the weather, the harvest, war, and epidemic disease. In severe times, a majority of infants would die within one year. In good times, perhaps two hundred per thousand would die. So great was the pre-modern loss of children's lives that anthropologists claim to have found groups that do not name children until they have survived a year. (emphasis added)There is no reason to doubt the figures PBS provides above. There is reason to doubt the figure below:
The infant mortality rate started a long slide from 165 per 1,000 in 1900 to 7 per 1,000 in 1997.In fact, this figure of 7 infant deaths per 1000 live births is a complete lie, a total fabrication.
While it is the case that infant mortality began a long slide in this country from 165 per thousand in 1900, the legalization of abortion in the 1960's, and the nationwide legalization of in utero child murder in 1973, reversed that slide.
If we count abortion for what it is - infant mortality via infanticide - then the CDC shows us that our present infant mortality rate is identical to the rates seen before 1900.
The national legal induced abortion ratio increased from 196 per 1,000 live births in 1973 (the first year that 52 areas reported) to 358 per 1,000 live births in 1979 and remained nearly stable through 1981.... The ratio peaked at 364 per 1,000 live births in 1984 and since then has shown a nearly steady decline. In 2000, the abortion ratio was 245 per 1,000 live births in 49 reporting areas and 246 for the same 48 reporting areas available for 1999. This represents a 3.8% decrease from 1999 (256 per 1,000 live births) for the 48 reporting areas.The pre-1900's rate of infant mortality was due to poor understanding of medical issues and relatively poor economic conditions.
To what can we attribute our current high rate of infant mortality?
Well, we could blame the economy.
It is true that the US economy underwent enormous inflation between 1965 and 1981, which might explain the high rates of infant mortality during that period. It is certainly the case that the black community, which routinely kills the majority of its infants each year, is among the poorest in the nation.
But blaming the economy seems somewhat disingenuous. After all, even the poorest country in the world today is richer than the richest country was in 1810. Even the poorest people in America are vastly better off than 90% of the rest of the world. Every American alive today is richer than John D. Rockefeller was in 1916. It's hard to say that poverty is the reason, because essentially no one in the world is poor, at least not when compared to 1810.
We can make a very cogent argument that the Church's call to care for the poorest of the poor has not only been answered, but essentially completed. We won.
In terms of physical wealth and health, no one is as poor today as even the richest person was when Rerum Novarum was issued in 1891. The social justice people can sit down and enjoy their triumph. Everyone is wealthy, just as they say Leo XIII asked.
No, it isn't the economy that is causing the high infant mortality rate.
Rather, we seem to accept a high infant mortality rate today precisely because we are physically rich. We have the means to keep infants alive, we just choose not to use them. No matter where you go in the world, women's fertility is being systematically destroyed. The number of children born to women each year is steadily dropping as the world's inhabitants becomes steadily wealthier.
On average, the world over, the more money we have, the fewer children we have.
For most of human history, infant mortality has stood at around 300 per 1000. For a short century, between about 1880 and 1960, certain Western countries managed to get that rate down to just a dozen or so per 1000.
We managed to become rich in children just as we were becoming rich in physical comfort. But, we didn't like having so many children around.
So, those same Western countries deliberately cranked infant mortality back up to where it has always historically been. No other country has ever managed to drop infant mortality to the exceedingly low rates the West has experienced, nor will they ever again.
Why won't they?
Because they'll abort their children out of existence as they become rich. The West has shown that it is acceptable to do that.
We won the war against physical poverty.
But, as the Fathers and Doctors of the Church liked to point out, physical poverty is nothing compared to spiritual poverty, the poverty of not knowing or living the Gospel.
We are indisputably physically wealthy.
Anyone who tells you different is either ignorant or deliberately lying.
But infant mortality is no different now than it was 1000 years ago, because the just distribution of physical riches was never really the problem.
The world over, there is a direct correlation between increased infanticide and "winning" social justice issues, that is, successfully redistributing physical wealth.
Someone might want to mention that to the bishops.