Selected determinants of overall infant mortality in Vietnam were examined using data from the 1988 Vietnam Demographic and Health Survey, and factors underlying neonatal and post-neonatal mortality were also compared. Effects of community development characteristics, including health care, were studied by logistic regression analysis in a subsample of rural children from the 1990 Vietnam Accessibility of Contraceptives Survey.
Infant neonatal and post-neonatal mortality rates showed comparable distributions by birth order, maternal age, pregnancy intervals, mother's education and urban–rural residence. Rates were highest among first order births, births after an interval of less than 12 months, births to illiterate mothers and to those aged under 21 or over 35 years of age. Logistic regression analysis showed that the most significant predictor of infant mortality was residence in a province where overall infant mortality was over 40 per 1000 live births. In the rural subsample, availability of public transport was the most persistent community development predictor of infant mortality. Reasons for the low infant mortality rates in Vietnam compared to countries with similar levels of economic development are discussed.