Nunavut moms still youngest, most fertile in Canada: StatCan
Infant mortality in Nunavut still three times more than Canadian rate
From 2000 to 2016, Nunavut was the only province or territory in Canada where enough babies were born to replace the number of residents who died.
That’s the good news.
On Monday morning, Statistics Canada released updated birth statistics from all provinces and territories. These show Nunavut still lags behind Canada with respect to the health of its newborns, who continue to be born earlier and by much younger mothers than elsewhere in the country,
In 2015, the infant mortality rate in Nunavut remained more than three times higher than the average Canadian rate.
This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country, and the rate in Nunavut for 2015, 12.8 deaths for 1,000 births, is closer to that of developing nations such as Mexico or Turkey.
In real terms, 11 out of the 905 babies born in 2015 in Nunavut died before they were 12 months old.
These numbers do represent an improvement over 2011, when 22 Nunavut babies died before the age of one year and the infant mortality rate was closer to that of India’s at 26.3 deaths for every 1,000 births.
While the average birthweight decreased in all provinces and territories from 2000 to 2016, Nunavut (3,302 grams or 7.2 pounds) had the second lowest birthweight in the country after Alberta.
The percentage of infants born preterm (that is, before 37 weeks of gestation) represented 13.7 per cent of live births in Nunavut in 2016. That’s nearly double the rate of premature live births in Canada in 2016.
Nunavut is also different than the rest of Canada, with respect to the average age when mothers give birth: five Nunavut girls under the age of 15 gave birth in 2016 and the majority of birth mothers were under the age of 30.
In Canada, by 2016, the average age of motherhood stood at 30.3 years. At 25.5 years, Nunavut still has the overall lowest average age of motherhood—although that was up from 24.9 years in 2012.
The fertility rate—that is, the number of live births per 1,000—in Nunavut for women between the ages of 15 and 19 came in at more than 10 times higher than the national average, and throughout all the age groups Nunavut was about twice as high.
Of the 905 births recorded in Nunavut in 2016, 323 were to single women and 162 to married women. Some 64 were not born in a hospital, Statistics Canada said.