BMJ first published this paper, based on unique NCMD data, which identifies links between social deprivation and childhood mortality, and identifies potential points where public health, social and education interventions, or health policy may be best targeted.

The relationship between deprivation, modifiable factors and childhood deaths is still not well understood. In this new study, based on the 2,688 child deaths that occurred in England between April 2019 and March 2020, we break down the risk of death in childhood by decile of deprivation.

The results are striking. We find a clear increase in child mortality as deprivation increases, and this correlation varies little by area, age and other demographic factors. Perhaps most shockingly, we show that over one-fifth of all child deaths may be avoided if the most deprived half of the population had the same mortality as the least deprived.

Finally, we suggest that resources should be targeted to adult employment and improvements to housing to try to counteract these troubling trends.