Nunavut still has highest infant mortality rate in Canada

Newly released birth data shows the average mother in Nunavut in 2012 was about 25 years old at the time of her delivery — and the territory's infant mortality rate remains the highest in Canada.

In 2012, the average Nunavut mother was about age 25 at time of delivery, says StatsCan

The infant mortality rate for Nunavut in 2012 was more than four times higher than the rest of the country, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday. (Martha Irvine/Associated Press)

Nunavut remains the territory with the highest infant mortality and the youngest mothers, according to 2012 data released by Statistics Canada this week. 

The data released Wednesday show the average Nunavut mother is about 25 years old at the time she gives birth. That's five years younger than the Canadian average of 29.8 years.

While not surprising given Nunavut's high birth rate and young population, there may be broader implications. 
This Statistics Canada graph compares the age of mothers at the time they gave birth for the years of 1992, 2002 and 2012. (Statistics Canada)

According to the latest summary of maternal health statistics, published on the Government of Nunavut's website, "women who have their first child when they are younger are less likely to complete high school" and may have "fewer resources to care for an infant." 

The government report also noted the importance of ensuring women have support in planning their pregnancies.

Infant mortality rate 4 times higher 

In 2012, 18 infants died in Nunavut before reaching the age of one. 

In order to create a mortality rate that is comparable across the country, Statistics Canada uses a calculation based on the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Nunavut's infant mortality rate was calculated as 21.4 per 1,000 live births. 

Once again, Nunavut has the highest infant mortality rate in the country — more than four times higher than the infant mortality rate for all of Canada.

Nunavut has had the highest infant mortality rate in Canada every year since 1999, with the exception of 2009, when Northwest Territories' rate was slightly higher. 

The information released Wednesday comes from Canada's vital statistics database, which annually catalogues demographic and medical information from each province and territory in Canada.