Objective Exploring the associations of regional differences in infant mortality with selected socioeconomic indicators and ethnicity could offer important clues for designing public health policy measures.
Methods Data included perinatal and infant mortality in the 79 districts of the Slovak population in 2004. Linear regression was used to analyse the contribution of education, unemployment, income and proportion of Roma population on regional differences in perinatal and infant mortality rates.
Results All the explored socioeconomic indicators and ethnicity individually contributed significantly to both perinatal and infant mortality, with the exception of income. In the model exploring the influence of all these variables together on perinatal and infant mortality, only the effect of the proportion of Roma population remained significant. This model explained 34.9% of the variance for perinatal and 36.4% of the variance for infant mortality.
Conclusions Living in Roma settlements indicates an accumulation of socioeconomic disadvantage. Health literacy, health-related behaviour and many other factors might contribute to the explanation of the differences in infant mortality, and a better understanding of these processes might help us to design tailored interventions.