Journal of Epidemiology
Online ISSN : 1349-9092
Print ISSN : 0917-5040
ISSN-L : 0917-5040
Original Article
Infant Mortality Rates for Farming and Unemployed Households in the Japanese Prefectures: An Ecological Time Trend Analysis, 1999–2017
Mariko KanamoriNaoki KondoYasuhide Nakamura
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Supplementary material

2021 Volume 31 Issue 1 Pages 43-51


Background: Recent research suggests that Japanese inter-prefecture inequality in the risk of death before reaching 5 years old has increased since the 2000s. Despite this, there have been no studies examining recent trends in inequality in the infant mortality rate (IMR) with associated socioeconomic characteristics. This study specifically focused on household occupation, environment, and support systems for perinatal parents.

Methods: Using national vital statistics by household occupation aggregated in 47 prefectures from 1999 through 2017, we conducted multilevel negative binomial regression analysis to evaluate occupation/IMR associations and joinpoint analysis to observe temporal trends. We also created thematic maps to depict the geographical distribution of the IMR.

Results: Compared to the most privileged occupations (ie, type II regular workers; including employees in companies with over 100 employees), IMR ratios were 1.26 for type I regular workers (including employees in companies with less than 100 employees), 1.41 for the self-employed, 1.96 for those engaged in farming, and 6.48 for unemployed workers. The IMR ratio among farming households was 1.75 in the prefectures with the highest population density (vs the lowest) and 1.41 in prefectures with the highest number of farming households per 100 households (vs the lowest). Joinpoint regression showed a yearly monotonic increase in the differences and ratios of IMRs among farming households compared to type II regular worker households. For unemployed workers, differences in IMRs increased sharply from 2009 while ratios increased from 2012.

Conclusions: Inter-occupational IMR inequality increased from 1999 through 2017 in Japan. Further studies using individual-level data are warranted to better understand the mechanisms that contributed to this increase.

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© 2020 Mariko Kanamori et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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