London’s Poverty Profile

Infant mortality by borough

What does this chart show?

The boroughs with the highest infant mortality rates, of above 4 per 1,000 live births, are found in Inner East and South East London, plus Barking & Dagenham and Greenwich. This is higher than the London and the England rates. 

These boroughs have not seen much improvement. With the exception of Southwark and Greenwich, none of these boroughs were in the bottom 10 for infant mortality a decade ago. However, because they saw no improvements whereas other boroughs have, they have dropped down the rankings. Southwark has improved from 7 per 1,000 live births in 2003–05 to 4 per 1,000, a large improvement. 

Hackney had the highest infant mortality rate at 5.4 per 1,000 live births. This is more than twice the rate than in the nine boroughs with the lowest infant mortality rate. Havering’s rate is 2 per 1,000 live births and Waltham Forest is at 2.6. Hackney’s rate has not improved over the decade, in contrast to most other boroughs.

There is a group of nine boroughs found in the west of London, mostly made up of Outer London boroughs – apart from Lambeth and Hammersmith & Fulham – where the infant mortality rate is between 3.5 and 4 per 1,000 live births. This is the group of boroughs with the second highest infant mortality rate. They all have infant mortality rates higher than the London average, but all apart from Lambeth are below the England rate. 

The same pattern is evident in these boroughs. Ten years ago these boroughs had better infant mortality rates compared with other boroughs but over the 10- year period they have seen little change while other boroughs have improved. Two exceptions are Lambeth and Harrow which have seen large falls in their infant mortality rates. 

The three most deprived boroughs* which are Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham and Hackney, are in the top four boroughs for infant mortality and all have infant mortality rates above 4 per 1,000 live births. The link at the other end of the deprivation scale is less clear. The three least deprived boroughs Richmond, Kingston and Harrow do not have the lowest infant mortality rates.

* Department for Communities and Local Government (2015) English indices of deprivation 2015. London: DCLG.


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