Background and Objective.
A constant gap has appeared in infant mortality among the 3 Baltic States - Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania – since the restoration of independence in 1991. The aim of the study was to compare infant mortality rates in all the 3 Baltic countries and examine some of the macro- and socioeconomic factors associated with infant mortality.
Material and Methods
. The data were obtained from international databases, such as World Health Organization and EUROSTAT, and the national statistical databases of the Baltic States. The time series data sets (1996–2010) were used in the regression and correlation analysis.
. In all the 3 Baltic States, a strong and significant correlation was found: Latvia (r=–0.81, P
<0.01), Lithuania (r=–0.93, P
<0.01), and Estonia (r=–0.91, P
<0.01). There was also a correlation between infant mortality and healthcare expenditure in local currency per capita: Latvia (r=– 0.81, P
<0.01); Lithuania (r=–0.90, P
<0.01) and Estonia (r=–0.88, P
<0.01). In Latvia (r=0.87, P
<0.01) and Estonia (r=0.70; P
<0.01), a significant correlation between infant mortality and unemployment levels was observed from 1996 to 2008, whereas the statistical significance disappeared in the period from 1996 to 2010. In Lithuania, the relationship was not significant.
. Higher infant mortality rates and a less stable decreasing tendency in Latvia are apparently explained by less successful adaptation to a new political and economic situation and limited skills in adjusting the healthcare system to the reality of life.