Latest stories

Press releases & statements


New Year’s Babies: Over 740 children will be born in the Pacific islands on New Year’s Day - UNICEF

© UNICEF Pacific/2018/Chute
On 1 January 2019 in Fiji, Losena Adi Bale, with her newborn daughter born at the stroke of midnight 2019. Losena was one of two mothers who gave birth between 12.00am and 12.01am at the Colonial war memorial hospital, Suva Fiji.

As the calendar turns to 2019, UNICEF calls on nations to meet every newborn’s right to health and survival

SUVA, 1 January 2019 An estimated 740 babies will be born in the Pacific islands on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today, with one of the first babies in the world born at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, Fiji, between 12 – 12.01am to proud mother Losena Adi Bale. 

In cities around the world, revelers will welcome not only the New Year with great festivities but also their newest and tiniest residents. As the clock strikes midnight, Sydney will greet an estimated 168 babies, followed by 310 in Tokyo, 605 in Beijing, 166 in Madrid and finally, 317 in New York.

Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2019’s first baby; the United States, its last. Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in eight countries: 

  1. India 69,944
  2. China 44,940
  3. Nigeria 25,685
  4. Pakistan 15,112
  5. Indonesia 13,256
  6. The United States 11086
  7. The Democratic Republic of Congo 10,053
  8. Bangladesh 8,428

In the Pacific, estimated births on New Year’s Day include:

  • Fiji -35
  • Federated States of Micronesia – 7
  • Kiribati - 9
  • Papua New Guinea – 607
  • Samoa – 13
  • Solomon Islands – 46
  • Tonga – 6
  • Vanuatu - 19

Around the world on January 1, families will welcome countless new family members. But in several countries, many babies will not even be named as they won’t make it past their first day.

In 2017, about 1 million babies died the day they were born, and 2.5 million in just their first month of life. Among those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia, a violation of their basic right to survival.

“This New Year Day, let’s all make a resolution to fulfill every right of every child, starting with the right to survive,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative. “We can save millions of babies if we invest in training and equipping local health workers so that every newborn is born into a safe pair of hands.”


2019 also marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which UNICEF will be commemorating with worldwide events throughout the year. Under the convention, governments committed to, among other things, taking measures to save every child by providing good quality health care. 

Over the past three decades, the world has seen remarkable progress in child survival, cutting the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half. But there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in the first month account for 47 per cent of all deaths among children under five.

UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment to deliver affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn. These include a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, ample supplies and medicines to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth, and empowered adolescent girls and women who can demand better quality of health services

“Thirty years after world leaders committed to preserving children’s rights, we’re still losing newborns because of who they are or where they are from, Mr. Yett said. “This year, we should renew our efforts to give every baby in the Pacific islands a chance to survive, to laugh, to cry, to play, to grow – to have a name and to have life.” 

Notes to Editors

To download photos to accompany this story, and videos/photos click here.

For complete un-rounded estimates on births and life expectancy for 190 countries, click here. For top ten baby names across 20 countries and number of births across 26 cities, click here. For the data, UNICEF worked with the World Data Lab.

The estimates for the number of babies born draw on the period indicators and the life tables of the UN’s World Population Prospects (2017). Building on these datasets, World Data Lab’s (WDL) algorithm projects the number of births for each day by country and their corresponding life expectancy. Similar methods were applied to compute the number of babies born in specific US and international cities. Other data sources include UN Data, different US governmental services, and national statistics across several countries.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit

For more information about UNICEF Pacific and its work for children visit Follow UNICEF Pacific on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:

Cate Heinrich, UNICEF Pacific, +679 9925606, 



 Email this article

unite for children