Estimating the Underlying Infant Mortality Rates for Small Populations: A Case Study of Counties in Estonia

David Swanson , University of Washington

For a small population, an infant mortality rate is subject to high levels of stochastic uncertainty and may not indicate the intrinsic mortality regime affecting the population. This situation leads some agencies to either not report infant mortality for these populations, report infant mortality aggregated over space, time, or both. A method is presented for estimating infant mortality rates that reflect the intrinsic mortality regimes underlying small populations. The method is described, tested both for accuracy and validity, and illustrated in a case study by estimating IMRs for the 15 counties in Estonia. The study suggests that the method can produce reasonable estimates of the “underlying” infant mortality rates for small populations subject to high levels of stochastic variation and for which infant deaths may not even be reported.

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 Presented in Session 109. Measurement Challenges and Innovations in Infant and Child Health and Mortality