Neonatal mortality in countries of the Americas, 2000–2020: trends, inequalities, and target-setting

Duran et al.


To analyze temporal trends and inequalities in neonatal mortality between 2000 and 2020, and to set neonatal mortality targets for 2025 and 2030 in the Americas. 


A descriptive ecological study was conducted using 33 countries of the Americas as units of analysis. Both the percentage change and average annual percentage change in neonatal mortality rates were estimated. Measurements of absolute and relative inequality based on adjusted regression models were used to assess cross-country social inequalities in neonatal mortality. Targets to reduce neonatal mortality and cross-country inequalities were set for 2025 and 2030. 


The estimated regional neonatal mortality rate was 12.0 per 1 000 live births in 2000–2004 and 7.4 per 1 000 live births in 2020, representing a percentage change of –38.3% and an average annual percentage change of –2.7%. National average annual percentage changes in neonatal mortality rates between 2000–2004 and 2020 ranged from –5.5 to 1.9 and were mostly negative. The estimated excess neonatal mortality in the 20% most socially disadvantaged countries, compared with the 20% least socially disadvantaged countries, was 17.1 and 9.8 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2000–2004 and 2020, respectively. Based on an extrapolation of recent trends, the regional neonatal mortality rate is projected to reach 7.0 and 6.6 neonatal deaths per 1 000 live births by 2025 and 2030, respectively. 


National and regional health authorities need to strengthen their efforts to reduce persistent social inequalities in neonatal mortality both within and between countries.


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