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A Child Survival Report Card: Number 1, 2004 View All Reports >
Despite relatively low rates of child mortality, there is room for improvement.

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 region’s 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.

INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES
CountryU5MR 1990U5MR 2002MDG target(a) 2015Progress(b) 1990-2002Requirement 2002-2015
Japan 6 5 2 1.5 7.0
United States 10 8 3 1.9 6.8
Iceland 5 4 2 1.9 6.6
Canada 9 7 3 2.1 6.5
Switzerland 8 6 3 2.4 6.1
Finland 7 5 2 2.8 6.0
United Kingdom 10 7 3 3.0 5.8
Belgium 9 6 3 3.4 5.3
Estonia 17 12 6 2.9 5.7
France 9 6 3 3.4 5.3
Ireland 9 6 3 3.4 5.3
Spain 9 6 3 3.4 5.3
Netherlands 8 5 3 3.9 4.7
Australia 10 6 3 4.3 4.6
Italy 10 6 3 4.3 4.6
San Marino 10 6 3 4.3 4.6
Slovakia 15 9 5 4.3 4.5
Hungary 16 9 5 4.8 4.1
Austria 9 5 3 4.9 3.9
Germany 9 5 3 4.9 3.9
Luxembourg 9 5 3 4.9 3.9
Slovenia 9 5 3 4.9 3.9
New Zealand 11 6 4 5.1 3.7
Israel 12 6 4 5.8 3.1
Sweden 6 3 2 5.8 3.1
Poland 19 9 6 6.2 2.7
Greece 11 5 4 6.6 2.3
Czech Republic 11 5 4 6.6 2.3
Norway 9 4 3 6.8 2.2
Denmark 9 4 3 6.8 2.2
Portugal 15 6 5 7.6 1.4
Malta 14 5 5 8.6 0.5
Monaco - 5 - - -
Liechtenstein - 11 - - -
Holy See - - - - -
Andorra - 7 - - -
 

Countries whose AARR has matched or exceeded the implied MDG target in 1990-2002 are shown as shaded.


(a)

Millennium Development Goal 4 set each country the task of reducing the under-five child mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.


(b)

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.

Unicef Progress for Children
Foreword
Child Survival
Sub-Saharan Africa
South Asia
Middle East and North Africa
East Asia and Pacific
CEE/CIS and Baltic States
Latin America and the Caribbean
Industrialized Countries
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