In 1960, 153 out of every 1,000 children did not make it to their fifth birthday; by 2002, that figure was 34.
Unlike most other regions, Latin America and the Caribbean was able to maintain a steady pace of reduction during the 1990s, posting an annual reduction rate of 4 per cent over the course of the decade. No other region managed to maintain an average annual reduction rate of 3 per cent or above in that period.
Despite these advances, there is still much work to do to reach levels approaching those of industrialized countries, where the probability of a child dying before the age of five is less than 1 per cent.
Brazil, the country with the largest child population in the region, is on schedule to meet the MDG, having managed to reduce child deaths by just under 4.3 per cent between 1990-2002.
Although Mexico’s average annual rate of reduction was smaller, at 3.8 per cent, it was from a lower base, leaving the U5MR at just 29 per 1,000 live births – the lowest rate among developing countries with populations in excess of 100 million. If this rate is maintained, Mexico will meet MDG 4.
The countries of Central America (with the exception of Costa Rica) and the impoverished countries of northern South America, Guyana and Suriname, are among those with the highest rates of child mortality in the region.
Infant mortality is also high in Bolivia, despite the fact that it remains on schedule to meet the MDG. Haiti is the only country in the region where child mortality is greater than 1 in 10.
Progress on reducing child deaths stalled in Jamaica during the 1990s. The country, which suffered a prolonged recession, is the only one in the hemisphere that failed to register a reduction in U5MR. Without a near doubling of effort, it will not meet MDG 4.
|Country||U5MR 1990||U5MR 2002||MDG target(a) 2015||Progress(b) 1990-2002||Requirement 2002-2015|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||26||25||9||0.3||8.1|
|Trinidad and Tobago||24||20||8||1.5||7.0|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||36||24||12||3.4||5.3|
|Antigua and Barbuda||-||14||-||-|
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.