Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Levels and trends in child mortality report 2018

Estimates Developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation

Authors:
UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN-DESA Population Division

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Publication details

Number of pages: 48
Publication date: 2018
Languages: English

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Overview

This report is the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation 2018 estimates on child mortality among children under age 5 and children aged 5-14.

Despite progress over the past two decades, in 2017 alone, an estimated 6.3 million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable causes. Globally, the majority of child and young adolescent deaths occur at the youngest ages, with the risk of dying highest in the first month of life.

While the chances of survival have increased for all age groups since 2000, progress was uneven. The largest improvements in child survival for children under 5 years of age occurred for children aged 1−4 years – mortality in this age group dropped by 60% from 2000 to 2017. Post-neonatal mortality, or mortality among children aged 1−11 months, declined by 51%, neonatal mortality declined by 41% and mortality among children aged 5−14 declined by 37% over the same period. The largest gains in the survival chances for children aged 1−4 have occurred primarily since 2000.

Most children under 5 die due to preventable or treatable causes such as complications during birth, pneumonia, diarrhea, neonatal sepsis, and malaria. By comparison, among children between 5 and 14 years of age, injuries become a more prominent cause of death, especially from drowning and road traffic. Within this age group, regional differences also exist, with the risk of dying for a child from sub-Saharan Africa 15 times higher than in Europe.

Globally, in 2017, half of all deaths under 5 years of age took place in sub-Saharan Africa, and another 30% in Southern Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 13 children died before their fifth birthday. In high-income countries, that number was 1 in 185.

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