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Child mortality rate drops by a third since 1990

Report: Levels and Trends in Child Mortality
Estimates however suggest that 22,000 children under five still die each day

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0281/Nesbitt
A woman waits with her toddler to be immunised in Nigeria’s northern state of Kaduna. The provision and administration of vaccines has boosted participation in a polio campaign.

NEW YORK, 17 September 2010 – The latest United Nations under-five mortality estimates were released today by UNICEF and they show continued progress in reducing the number of children who don’t live to see their fifth birthdays.

According to these estimates, the total number of under-five deaths decreased globally from 1990 to 2009 from 12.4 million per year to 8.1 million. The global under-five mortality rate has dropped by a third over that period, from 89 deaths per 1,000 live births to 60 in 2009.

The good news is that these estimates suggest 12,000 fewer children are dying each day around the world compared to 1990.

However the tragedy of preventable child deaths continues. Some 22,000 children under five still die each day, with some 70 per cent of these deaths occurring in the first year of the child’s life.

Under-five mortality is increasingly concentrated in a few countries. About half of global under-five deaths occurred in just five countries in 2009: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and China.

The highest rates of child mortality continue to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, where 1 in 8 children dies before their fifth birthday--nearly 20 times the average for developed regions (1 in 167). Southern Asia has the second highest rates, with about 1 in 14 children dying before age five.

While the speed at which under-five mortality rates are declining improved for 2000 to 2009 compared to the previous decade, the under five deaths are still not decreasing fast enough -- especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and Oceania -- to achieve Millennium Development Goal target (of a two thirds decline between 1990 and 2015).

The new estimates were published in the 2010 report Levels & Trends in Child Mortality, issued by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), and in a special commentary in The Lancet.

The estimates are the work of a number of UN system organisations that form the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, and are developed with oversight and advice from independent experts from academic institutions.



REPORT 2010: Levels & Trends in Child Mortality
This report contains the latest IGME estimates of child mortality at the country, regional and global levels. Country-specific estimates and the data used to derive them are available from the child mortality database of the IGME: CME Info. Visit.

IGME: Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation
(IGME) was formed in 2004 to share data on child mortality, harmonise estimates within the UN system, improve methods for child mortality estimation and produce consistent estimates of child mortality worldwide for reporting on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The IGME, led by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization, also includes the World Bank and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs as full members. The IGME updates its child mortality estimates annually after reviewing newly available data and assessing data quality.

In 2000, 189 world leaders met at the United Nations Millennium Summit and signed onto the Millennium Declaration, agreeing to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the advancement of humanity and the survival of humankind. Human development, they agreed, is key to sustaining social and economic progress in all countries. The Millennium Declaration is their vision for peace and security, poverty reduction, the environment and human rights. And the MDGs, eight goals with measurable targets and clear deadlines, their road map for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. World leaders have agreed to achieve the MDGs by 2015. The target for the fourth goal: Reduce child mortality is as follows:
1. Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. Read more.

CHILD HEALTH: Situation in Malaysia
Malaysia’s infant and child mortality rates at 6 per 1,000 live births in 2008 are now comparable to those of highly industrialised countries. While child mortality has fallen markedly in all states of Malaysia, spatial differences still exist between states reflecting different levels of development. In Peninsular Malaysia, child mortality is lower in the west coast states and higher for the more rural east coast states where poverty rates are higher. Read more.

With only five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development goals, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to attend a summit to accelerate progress towards the MDGs The High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly will take place from 20-22 SEPT 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York. Read more.





Report: Levels & Trends in Child Mortality

The Lancet
   UNICEF commentary

Millennium Development Goal 4

Reduce child

SOWC 2008 - Child survival

Countdown to 2015

UN MDG Summit 2010


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