Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Socioeconomic inequality in infant mortality in Iran and across its provinces

Ahmad Reza Hosseinpoor,1 Kazem Mohammad,2 Reza Majdzadeh, Mohsen Naghavi, Farid Abolhassani, Angelica Sousa, Niko Speybroeck, Hamid Reza Jamshidi, & Jeanette Vega



To measure the socioeconomic inequality in infant mortality in Iran.


We analysed data from the provincially representative Demographic and Health Survey, which was done in Iran in 2000. We used a dichotomous hierarchical ordered probit model to develop an indicator of socioeconomic status of households. We assessed the inequality in infant mortality by using the odds ratio of infant mortality between the lowest and highest socioeconomic quintiles at both the provincial and national levels, and the concentration index, an inequality measure based on the entire socioeconomic distribution.


We found a decreasing trend in the infant mortality rate in relation to socioeconomic quintiles. The poorest to richest odds ratio was 2.34 (95% CI = 1.78–3.09). The concentration index of infant mortality in Iran was -0.1789 (95% CI = -0.2193–-0.1386). Furthermore, the inequality of infant mortality between the lowest and highest quintiles was significant and favoured the better-off in most of the provinces. However, this inequality varied between provinces.


Socioeconomic inequality in infant mortality favours the better-off in the country as a whole and in most of its provinces, but the degree of this inequality varies between the provinces. As well as its national average, it is important to consider the provincial distribution of this indicator of population health.