Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) are good indicators of how well developed different states are. Lower the IMR, the better developed the state is. This is because parents would do everything to save their new born. But access to information, access to doctors or medical facilities, access to sanitation and their income will determine, if they are able to.

In the post, we will look at how states have fared over the years to counter this. Have they successfully dealt this problem. Which state have done well and which state have not.

I will be using the data made public by Indian planning commission and is available here.

How IMR rates for each state look like and how have they fared compared to other states?

Looking at single years data will not provide enough details, so I will plot IMR for over 15 years for each state.


Looking at the plot, it is very evident that states like Kerala, Goa and Manipur have very low IMR compared to other states, while states like Odisha, MP, Rajasthan and UP had very high IMR rates. The median IMR for Kerala being the lowest and MP being the highest.

Have the IMR rates come down over a period of time?

For this plot, we will select the states which had witnessed very high IMR rates and see the trends.


Trends show that is it coming down in all the state that had witnessed very high IMR rates. Odisha being the worst at more than 100 in 1999 and since then have witnessed sharp decline, which a good sign.

Do we see any interesting trends? Well, yes. There is an increase in IMR rate in most of these states from 2004 to 2005. We should see consistent decline in rates every year and an increase in IMR rates is something very peculiar. Is this because more cases were being reported and documented or any other factor? I am not an expert to provide any conclusive reasoning. But we definitely try to see if this trend exists in other states as well.


From the above plot, we see an increase in IMR from 2004 to 2005  in at least 12 states. What is most bizzare is that even states like Kerala, which have dealt with it well also had witnesses a rise in IMR in 2005 from 2004. What could be the reason? Increase in cases being reported or documentation error or is there a proper reason? I leave this to the readers to find out.

But, is IMR related to factors like access to information, access to medical facilities, access to sanitation and income. We will look at that in future posts.

That’s all for now. And please provide your feedback.