Industrialized countries have achieved substantial reductions in child mortality since 1990.
In 1990, 1 in 100 children died before reaching five years of age; by 2002 that rate had improved to 1 in 143. Scandinavian countries enjoy the lowest rate of child mortality.
The under-five mortality rate of 20 of the 36 industrialized countries is double that of the best performing country, Sweden, where the rate is just 3 out of every 1,000 live births. In Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, child mortality rates are conspicuously higher than the regions average.
Some of the industrialized countries still have work ahead of them to further reduce under five mortality rates. Yet for those countries with the lowest mortality rates, the specific goal of reducing levels of under five mortality by two thirds may not need the same emphasis.
The steady decline in mortality rates in the industrialized countries during the period 1990-2003 has been aided by new and costly medicines, technology, and interventions. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in developing countries, which are still struggling to control many preventable causes of mortality, including communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies, violence and injuries.
|Country||U5MR 1990||U5MR 2002||MDG target(a) 2015||Progress(b) 1990-2002||Requirement 2002-2015|
Countries whose AARR has matched or exceeded the implied MDG target in 1990-2002 are shown as shaded.
Millennium Development Goal 4 set each country the task of reducing the under-five child mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.
The speed of progress in reducing the U5MR is measured here by calculating the average annual reduction rate (AARR). Unlike the comparison of absolute changes, the AARR reflects the fact that the lower limits to U5MR are approached only with increasing difficulty. The AARR is calculated on an exponential basis, which assumes a continuous, exponential reduction between two points in time. It does not take into account the intermediate values of the series. To achieve a two-thirds reduction between 1990 and 2015 requires a progress rate of 4.4 per cent or higher.