Report

Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2019

Author:
UNICEF
Source:
UNICEF
Contributor:
Publication Year:
2019
May 12, 2020
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

The United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) produces estimates of child and young adolescent mortality annually, reconciling the differences across data sources and taking into account the systematic biases associated with the various types of data on child and adolescent mortality. This report presents UN IGME’s latest estimates – through 2018 – of neonatal, infant and under-five mortality as well as mortality among children aged 5–14 years. It assesses progress in the reduction of child and young adolescent mortality at the country, regional and global levels, and provides an overview of the methods used to estimate the mortality indicators above.

 

Key Facts

  • Tremendous progress in child survival has been made over the past two decades. The total number of deaths among children and young adolescents under 15 years of age dropped by 56 per cent from 14.2 (14.0, 14.5)1 million in 1990 to 6.2 (6.0, 6.7) million in 2018. Still, one child or young adolescent died every five seconds in 2018.
  • Globally, 85 per cent of deaths among children and young adolescents in 2018 occurred in the first five years of life, accounting for 5.3 million deaths, of which 2.5 million (47 per cent) occurred in the first month of life, 1.5 million (29 per cent) at age 1–11 months, and 1.3 million (25 per cent) at age 1−4 years. An additional 0.9 million deaths occurred among children aged 5−14 years.
  • Among children and young adolescents under 15 years of age, the risk of dying was highest in the first month of life, at an average rate of 18 (17, 19) deaths per 1,000 live births globally in 2018. In comparison, the probability of dying after the first month and before reaching age 1 was 11 (11, 12) per 1,000, the probability of dying after reaching age 1 and before reaching age 5 was 10 (9, 11) per 1,000, and the probability of dying after reaching age 5 and before reaching age 15 was 7 (7, 8) per 1,000.
  • The global under-five mortality rate fell to 39 (37, 42) deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018 from 93 (92, 95) in 1990 and 76 (75, 78) in 2000 – a 59 (55, 60) per cent and 49 (46, 52) per cent decline, respectively. The neonatal mortality rate fell to 18 (17, 19) deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018 from 37 (36, 38) in 1990 and 31 (30, 31) in 2000 – a 52 (47, 53) per cent and 42 (37, 45) per cent decline, respectively.
  • The total number of under-five deaths dropped to 5.3 (5.1, 5.7) million in 2018 from 12.5 (12.4, 12.7) million in 1990. On average, 15,000 children died before age 5 every day in 2018 compared to 34,000 in 1990 and 27,000 in 2000. Among the 5.3 million under-five deaths in 2018, 2.9 (2.8, 3.1) million were boys and 2.4 (2.3, 2.6) million were girls.
  • The global number of neonatal deaths declined from 5.0 (4.9, 5.2) million in 1990 to 2.5 (2.4, 2.7) million 2018 – 7,000 deaths every day in 2018 compared with 14,000 in 1990. Neonatal deaths accounted for 47 (45, 49) per cent of all under- five deaths in 2018, increasing from 40 (39, 41) per cent in 1990 due to a faster global decline in mortality among children aged 1–59 months than for children in their first month of life.
  • For older children and young adolescents aged 5−14 years, the probability of dying continues to decline, dropping from 15 (15, 16) deaths per 1,000 children aged 5 in 1990 to 7 (7, 8) in 2018. The total number of deaths in this age group dropped from 1.7 (1.7, 1.8) million in 1990 to 1.4 (1.4, 1.5) million in 2000 and to 0.9 (0.9, 1.0) million in 2018.
  • Children continue to face widespread regional disparities in their chances of survival. Sub- Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest under-five mortality rate in the world. In 2018, the region had an average under-five mortality rate of 78 deaths per 1,000 live births. This translates to 1 in 13 children dying before his or her fifth birthday – 16 times higher than the average ratio of 1 in 199 in high-income countries.
  • It is urgent to further accelerate progress in preventing child deaths. Current trends predict that close to 10 million 5- to 14-year-olds and 52 million children under 5 years of age will die between 2019 and 2030. Almost half of these under-five deaths will be newborns whose deaths can be prevented by reaching high coverage of quality antenatal care, skilled care at birth, postnatal care for mother and baby, and care of small and sick newborns.
  • In 2018, 121 countries had already achieved an under-five mortality rate below the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 25 or fewer deaths per 1,000 live births; those countries should aim to maintain progress and further reduce disparities among their populations. Of the remaining 74 countries, progress will need to be accelerated in 53 to reach the SDG target by 2030.
  • If all countries reach the SDG child survival targets by 2030, 11 million lives under age 5 will be saved – more than half of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

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