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Child Mortality Rates Falling Worldwide

According to new data released by UNHCO, the UN Population Division, the World Bank and UNICEF, the rate of reducing child fatalities has grown significantly since 2000.

Lower Mortality Rates Around the World

In 1990, approximately 12 million children died before the age of five. By 2011, that number was reduced to an estimated seven million. In the last twenty years, child mortality rates have been reduced in every region of the world. In certain parts of the globe, including south-eastern Asia, northern Africa and Latin America, rates have fallen by at least half.  Progress is quickly accelerating. Since 2000, the rate of child mortality has fallen by an average of 3.2 percent per year.

Child Mortality Rates Falling Worldwide

Child Mortality Rates Falling Worldwide

Expansion Needed to Promote Progress

Just under 20,000 children died daily in 2011, and nearly half of these children died during their first month of life. Most of these deaths are attributed to preventable causes.  Only six regions of the world are set to reach the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the child mortality rate by two-thirds by 2015. The global movement to encourage action on child, maternal and newborn survival must be expanded to foster progress on child mortality. In June 2012, over 100 governments have renewed their pledge to increasing child survival.

Targeting Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

More than 80 percent of children who die before their fifth birthday live in southern Asia or sub-Saharan Africa. Although other regions on the African and Asian continents have seen vast improvement, these two areas remain plagued by child mortality. India and Nigeria alone account for more than 30 percent of all child deaths under the age of five worldwide. Half of child mortalities occur in just five countries: Nigeria, India, China, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The leading causes of child deaths under five are preterm birth complications, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and complications during birth.

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