Italian child health statistic review: Births and deaths

R. Campi, Maurizio Bonati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The overall improvement in the health of Italian children over the course of the 20th century is best exemplified by a dramatic decline in infant mortality of about 90% and an increase in life expectancy of 55%. The leading causes of death shifted from infectious to chronic diseases, although children's health differs widely between Italian regions, with rates several times higher in the South than the North. Birth rates declined by 3.5% in recent years, and the fertility rate (1.32 births per woman) is the lowest in Europe. Birth and fertility rates, however, are higher in the South, as are the infant mortality and caesarean delivery rates, the latter being, in a few Italian regions, among the highest in the world. On the other hand, prenatal care and exclusive breastfeeding rates are lower in the South. The challenge for the coming years is to close the intra and inter-regional inequitable gap (also) in child health. This is the first review of national childhood statistics and presents some of the available, recent data, their source, recent trends, and regional distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Birth
  • Child
  • Infant mortality
  • Italy
  • Vital statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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