Posted by: LucidMystery | November 11, 2013

When Stats Get Annoying

Quick rant that seemed like I would irk too many people on facebook 😛

Ok, so I like what this article is trying to say about maternity , but the sketchy stats involved in infant mortality rate is kind of an issue.

To summarize my angst, one stat that pops up a lot, especially since the ACA/Obamacare fightin’ flames have been fanned into craziness, is the “fact” that the US seems to have a strangely high infant mortality rate compared to other developed countries. It must be our healthcare system, right? Well, I’m sure that doesn’t help, but it’s not the entire problem.

Here’s the actual issue: the US actually report ALL births as live births. Countries like Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Japan, and a ton of others across Europe and Asia DON’T. Depending on the country, if a baby dies within 24 hours (ie, when a baby is most likely not to survive), it’s not considered a live birth; it’s called a miscarriage. In other countries, if a baby is born under a certain weight or under a certain length (ie, exceptionally premature–a main cause of infant mortality), again, it’s counted as a miscarriage and not a live birth. So basically, the reason the US lags behind isn’t because we magically have an absurd infant mortality rate compared to everyone else, it’s because other developed countries aren’t calling infant mortality the same way that we do.

Bottom line, you’re not going to get accurate statistics when your reporting criteria are different.

End rant 😛

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