The State of the World's Children 1998: Focus on Nutrition

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General Note on the Data

Four major changes have been made to the statistical tables in The State of the World’s Children 1998 report.

First, the less populous countries, which were previously presented in a separate table, have been merged into the main tables. Each of the eight tables now lists 193 countries.

Second, only independent, sovereign countries are listed; these include all countries that are members of the United Nations and all countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Third, countries are now listed alphabetically in each table rather than in descending order of their under-five mortality rate (U5MR). However, because this rate is a crucial indicator, countries ranked in order of their U5MR are listed on the page opposite this note. Every table also includes a column providing the U5MR rank of each country. The index to countries, which appeared before table 1 in previous reports, has been eliminated.

Fourth, the regional summary for each table now appears with its relevant table.

The data presented in these tables are accompanied by definitions, sources and explanations of symbols. The tables are derived from many sources and thus will inevitably contain a wide range of data quality. Official government data received by the responsible United Nations agency have been used whenever possible. In the many cases where there are no reliable official figures, estimates made by the responsible United Nations agency have been used.

Where such internationally standardized estimates do not exist, the tables draw on other sources, particularly data received from the appropriate UNICEF field office. Where possible, only comprehensive or representative national data have been used.

Data quality is likely to be adversely affected for countries that have recently suffered from man-made or natural disasters. This is particularly so where basic country infrastructure has been fragmented or major population movements have occurred.

Data for life expectancy, total fertility rate, crude birth and death rates, etc. are part of the regular work on estimates and projections undertaken by the United Nations Population Division. These and other internationally produced estimates are revised periodically, which explains why some of the data will differ from those found in earlier UNICEF publications.

In addition, the statistical tables in the present report contain new data from recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. These surveys were carried out in 1995 and 1996 by more than 60 countries worldwide as a means of assessing the progress made for children in the context of the goals of the World Summit for Children.

Two new indicators have also been introduced. ‘Per cent of routine EPI vaccines financed by government’, the first of these new indicators, appears in table 3. This indicator reflects a country’s capacity to immunize children as an integral part of its health care system. It replaces the previous indicator entitled ‘per cent of population with access to health services’, which although of interest to many has been eliminated because of the poor quality of the data.

‘Per cent of population below $1 per day’, the second new indicator, can be found in table 6. This indicator is now used by the World Bank and is a more explicit monetary measure of international poverty than the indicator it replaces. Previous reports defined absolute poverty as the income level below which a minimum nutritionally adequate diet, plus essential non-food requirements, was not affordable.

Explanation of symbols

Since the aim of these statistics is to provide a broad picture of the situation of children and women worldwide, detailed data qualifications and footnotes are seen as more appropriate for inclusion elsewhere. Only three symbols are used to classify the table data.

- Indicates data are not available.

x Indicates data that refer to years or periods other than those specified in the column heading, differ from the standard definition, or refer to only part of a country.

y Indicates that survey data were used for estimating net primary school enrolment (in table 4 only).

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