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This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.

The population of Belarus continues to fall due to increasing death rates and decreasing birth rates. The number of children has declined by 25 per cent since 1990. Belarus continues to suffer from the aftermath of the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, which affected nearly a quarter of the country’s land mass.

Issues facing children in Belarus

  • Belarus spends about 1.1 per cent of GDP on social services related to the Chernobyl accident. Approximately 13 per cent of the nation’s children live in areas still affected by the disaster. In these areas, iodine deficiency has made children more susceptible to thyroid cancer (which has affected more than 4,000 children in the region), along with iodine deficiency disorders. Consumption of iodized salt stands at only 55 per cent of households nationwide.
  • Anaemia is common among children and pregnant women. 
  • The spread of HIV/AIDS is a major concern.
  • Alcohol abuse is widespread. Juvenile delinquency and juvenile crime are increasing.
  • Parental neglect, child abuse and violence toward women and children present additional problems.
  • Nearly a quarter of all children delivered in 2003 were born out of wedlock.

Activities and results for children

  • More than a third of births now occur in designated ‘baby-friendly’ hospitals; an additional 27 per cent of babies are born in ‘baby-friendly’ clinics. These facilities emphasize safe deliveries and promote exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Pre-school enrolment increased from 69 to 82 per cent between 2002 and 2004. Net primary school enrolment and attendance stands at 90 per cent.
  • Immunization coverage against most diseases exceeds 98 per cent.
  • Mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women is reducing vertical transmission of the AIDS virus. Approximately 90 per cent of HIV-positive mothers and their children receive antiretroviral treatment.
  • The rate of new HIV infections among teens is falling. It is estimated that HIV/AIDS education and prevention efforts by UNICEF and its partners have prevented an estimated 300 to 500 new cases annually.
  • More than half of all schools now offer life-skills education, which includes vital information on HIV/AIDS prevention and encourages healthy lifestyle choices. In Minsk, youth-friendly services are available to provide HIV testing and medical counselling for 30 per cent of the city’s young people.
  • The number of children living in institutions continues to decrease. Alternatives to institutionalization now provide care for more than 55 per cent of all orphaned children.



Basic Indicators

Under-5 mortality rank


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 1990


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 2012


U5MR by sex 2012, male


U5MR by sex 2012, female


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 1990


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 2012


Neonatal mortality rate 2012


Total population (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of births (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands) 2012


GNI per capita (US$) 2012


Life expectancy at birth (years) 2012


Total adult literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*


Primary school net enrolment ratio (%) 2008-2011*


Definitions and data sources [popup]

Source: The State of the World's Children

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