Religion, Belief and Prayer Does Not Help Infant Mortality Rates

By Vexen Crabtree 2017

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... there are many highly religious nations with horrible infant mortality rates. Meanwhile, highly secular nations with large percentages of atheists in their populations have very low infant mortality rates.

"50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" by Guy Harrison (2008)2

The chart above shows the Infant Mortality Rate, measured in deaths per 1000 live births, against the rate of god-belief. All developed countries sit along the bottom, no matter what their level of belief in God is. For example, Poland has a good infant mortality rate of 4/1000, and only 3% of the population disbelieve in God. Nearby Estonia has a similar infant mortality rate (3/1000) but a full half of the population do not believe in God. This means that richer countries experience better infant mortality rates, and prayer does not make a difference to them. A huge number of poor countries, where rate of belief in God is very high, sit along the left. This means that in poor countries, infant mortality rate is high, and, so is the extent to which mothers are praying for their children. This means that praying, compassionately and desperately, for the health of their own children does not work. But the ultimate comparison is within demographic areas. Very poor countries such as Vietnam have the same infant mortality rate as their near neighbours, but, have a completely different rate of praying (due to a high level of disbelief in God). What this shows us is that internationally, on average, and, compared to their neighbours, rich and poor countries' infant mortality rates are not affected by the rate of belief in God. In other words, prayer is making no difference.


Current edition: 2017 Jan 31
Parent page: Anti-Religion Quotes and Graphics

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References: (What's this?)

Harrison, Guy P.
(2008) 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God. E-book. Amazon Kindle digital edition. Published by Prometheus Books, New York, USA.

Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg
(2009) Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations. Richard Lynn, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg article "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" in Intelligence (2009 Jan/Feb) vol. 37 issue 1 pages 11-15. Online at, accessed 2009 Sep 15.

Zuckerman, P.
(2007) Atheism: contemporary numbers and patterns. In M.Martin (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In "Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations" by Lynn et al. (2009).


  1. Mortality Rate data comes from the World Bank here, and disbelief in God rates come from Zuckerman (2007).^
  2. Harrison (2008) chapter 14 "My god answers prayers" .^

© 2017 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.