ONS stillbirth rate data in England and Wales continues to show inequalities

on 27 May 2021

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows continued inequalities in stillbirth rates in England and Wales between 2007 and 2019 when it comes to ethnic minority groups, despite an overall decline.

The stillbirth rate for each ethnic group has fluctuated but generally decreased between 2007 and 2019. In 2007 stillbirth rates among babies from the Black ethnic group were at their highest peak with 9.2 stillbirths per 1,000 live births. In 2019 this decreased to 7.1 per 1,000 live births.

Babies within the Asian ethnic group saw the second highest stillbirth rate across the years, with the rate at 5.1 per 1,000 live births in 2019.

Out of all Asian ethnicity categories, the Pakistani group had the highest stillbirth rates. However, this has declined from 8.9 in 2007 to 5.9 in 2019.

The white ethnic group saw the lowest stillbirth rates across all years. However, the Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups had the lowest stillbirth rate in 2019.

Commenting on the report, Director for Professional Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Dr Mary Ross-Davie, said: “Behind each of these figures is a family which has suffered incredible loss and sadly again we see Black, Asian and minority ethnic women suffering tragic loss which is disproportionate to that of white women.

“While we welcome the fact that this report now provides this level of detail, the RCM is calling on the Government to do more to tackle the socio-economic deprivation that have significantly contributed to these stillbirths and deaths.

“Despite the huge efforts from midwives and maternity staff more action is needed nationally, and a multi-agency approach is needed to address the wider inequalities faced by women of colour.”

For most ethnic groups immaturity related conditions were the main factor for infant mortality, followed by congenital anomalies. For the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups, congenital anomalies were the most common factor.

Read more about the report and its findings here.