The latest estimates on child mortality generated by the UN Inter-agency Group on Child Mortality Estimation were released on 13 September 2012: Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, Report 2012.
UNICEF also released Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed – Progress Report 2012 on the same day.
PROGRESS TOWARDS MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOAL 4:
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES
• Overall, substantial progress has been made towards achieving MDG 4. The number of under-five deaths worldwide has declined from nearly 12 (11.7, 12.2)1 million in 1990 to 6.9 (6.8, 7.4) million in 2011. While that translates into 14,000 fewer children dying every day in 2011 than in 1990, it still implies the deaths of 19,000 children under age five every day in 2011.
• Since 1990 the global under-five mortality rate has dropped 41 percent—from 87 (85, 89) deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 51 (51, 55) in 2011. Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) and Middle East and North Africa2 have reduced their under-five mortality rate by more than 50 percent.
• The annual rate of reduction in under-five mortality has accelerated—from 1.8 (1.7, 2.1) percent a year over 1990–2000 to 3.2 (2.5, 3.2) percent over 2000–2011—but remains insufficient to reach MDG 4, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
• The highest rates of child mortality are still in sub-Saharan Africa—where 1 in 9 children dies before age five.
• Under-five deaths are increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, while the share in the rest of the world dropped from 32 percent in 1990 to 18 percent in 2011. As under-five mortality rates have fallen more sharply elsewhere, the disparity between these two regions and the rest of the world has grown.
• By 2050, 1 in 3 children will be born in sub-Saharan Africa, and almost 1 in 3 will live there, so the global number of under-five deaths may stagnate or even increase without more progress in the region.
• However, sub-Saharan Africa has seen a faster decline in its under-five mortality rate, with the annual rate of reduction doubling between 1990–2000 and 2000–2011.
• About half of under-five deaths occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China. India (24 percent) and Nigeria (11 percent) together account for more than a third of all under-five deaths.
• The proportion of under-five deaths that occur within the first month of life (the neonatal period) has increased 17 percent since 1990, from 36 percent to about 43 percent, because declines in the neonatal mortality rate are slower than those in the mortality rate for older children.
• Almost 30 percent of neonatal deaths occur in India. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest risk of death in the first month of life and is the region showing the least progress.
• The leading causes of death among children under age five are pneumonia (18% of all under-five deaths); preterm birth complications (14%); diarrhoea (11%); intrapartum-related complications (complications during birth; 9%); and malaria (7%). Globally, more than a third of under-five deaths are attributable to undernutrition.
1. Values in parentheses indicate 90 percent uncertainty intervals for the estimates.
2. Regional classifications used here are UNICEF regions.
The UN Inter-agency Group on Child Mortality EstimationThe UN Inter-agency Group on Child Mortality Estimation was established in 2004 to share data on child mortality, harmonize estimates within the UN system, improve methods for child mortality estimation, report on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and enhance country capacity to produce timely and properly assessed estimates of child mortality. The IGME, led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), also includes the World Bank and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs as full members. An independent Technical Advisory Group of leading experts in the areas of demography and biostatistics advises the group. The group updates the estimates on child mortality annually.
Child mortality database
The child mortality database contains estimates for infant mortality and under-five mortality generated by the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. Please visit the child mortality database (www.childmortality.org) to access the estimates. Click here to access the 2010 CME brochure.
Child mortality estimation methods
Details on the child mortality estimation methods can be found in the PLOS Medicine Collection on Child Mortality Estimation methods (www.ploscollections.org/childmortalityestimation).