Enduring Diversity: Living Arrangements of Children in Canada over 100 Years of the Census
The reduction in infant and child mortality rates over the last century
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In the early 1900s, socioeconomic status played a less clear role in mortality than today. This was particularly true in urban areas where industrialization contributed to poor environmental and sanitary conditions and the spread of infectious disease. As a result, children raised in rural areas, particularly on large farms, experienced a lower risk of mortality than those in urban areas.Note 1
The reduction in child mortality over the 20th century came along with a broader epidemiological transition that began in the 19th century. This transition was characterized by a shift in disease patterns from high mortality at all ages mostly due to communicable disease to lower mortality mostly concentrated at older ages and mainly as a result of degenerative diseases.Note 2
By 2011, the infant mortality rate in Canada had declined to less than 5% of its 1926 level. The largest declines in childhood mortality have occurred for children aged 1 to 4, from 8.4 deaths per thousand in 1926 to 0.2 deaths per thousand in 2011 (see Figure B1), a reduction of 98%.