A Look at Under-Five Mortality Rates

IS THE WORLD IMPROVING?

Twenty-Five years ago, the Convention on the Rights of the Child brought the high under-five mortality rates to the world's attention. The under-five mortality rates refer to the number of deaths for children under five years of age per 1,000 live births. Since 1990, many changes have been made towards the issue, but the Millenium Development Goal - to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 - has still not been achieved.

Source: UNICEF, "Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed (Progress Report 2015)"

Global Under-Five Mortality Rates in 2015

Based on the April 2015 UNICEF progress report, there is an estimated 5.9 million under-five deaths in 2015. Some areas have much higher under-five mortality rates than others. Sub-Saharan Africa has the most severe cases of high under-five mortality rate compared to the rest of the world.

Source: WorldBank, Last Updated: November 12, 2015, Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division) at www.childmortality.org.

Source: UNICEF, "Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed (Progress Report 2015)"

Changes in Under-Five Mortality Rate

unicef children

Since 1990, significant progress has been made and has resulted in falling under-five mortality rates all over the world. The global under-five mortality rate has fallen by 53 percent in the last 25 years.

The under-five global death count has declined from about 12.7 million in 1990 to around 5.9 million in 2015.
Some areas have low child mortality rates...
Luxembourg has the lowest under-five mortality rate in 2015 with only 1.9 child deaths per 1,000 live births.
...while other areas have much higher child mortality rates.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest child mortality rates in the world. The annual rate of reduction has increased from 1.6 percent in 1990s to 4.1 percent in 2000-2015.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Angola has the highest under-five mortality rate in 2015 with 156.9 child deaths per 1,000 live births.
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sierra Leone has the highest cummulative under-five mortality rates from 1990 to 2015.
How come some countries reduced their child mortality rates more so than others?
Malawi has the highest percentage decline since 1990 among the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: UNICEF, "Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed (Progress Report 2015)"

Source: UNDP

Malawi

Malawi has the highest percentage decline, 73.6%, in under-five mortality rate since 1990. Malawi had the sixth highest under-five mortaltiy rate in the world in 1990 at 242.4 deaths per 1,000 live child births. By 2015, it has lowered it's under-five mortality rate to 64 deaths per 1,000 live child births.

As of 2015, Malawi is no longer among the top 20 countries with the highest child mortality rates. From having the sixth highest under-five mortality rate in 1990, Malawi now has the 33rd highest under-five mortality rate.

Source: WorldBank, Last Updated: November 12, 2015, Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division) at www.childmortality.org.

malawi_map

Changes in Under-Five Mortality Rates in Sub-Saharan Countries

Dark-orange bars indicate countries that remain on the list after another option is selected. Countries such as Niger had one of the highest child mortality rates in 1990 and still remains on the highest child mortality rates in 2015; however, Niger is also among the sub-saharan countries with the highest decline in under-five mortality rate.

Malawi is highlighted in blue. As mentioned before, Malawi had the sixth highest under-five mortality rate, but by 2015, the country is no longer among the top 20 sub-saharan countries with high under-five mortality rate.

Sub-Saharan Countries with the highest

Drastically Improved Water Source in Malawi

The scatterplot shows the percentage of the country's rural population with access to an improved drinking water source and the under-five mortality rate in 1990 and 2015. Malawi has increased the percentage from 36.1% in 1990 to 89.1% in 2015. The increased access of the rural population to improved water sources may be one of the key reasons for the decline in child mortality in Mawali. Improved water sources is one of the best ways to prevent diarrhoea; "Inadequate drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene are estimated to cause 842,000 diarrhoeal disease deaths per year," according to the World Health Organization.

Source: WorldBank, "Improved water source, rural (% of rural population with access)", WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation (http://www.wssinfo.org/).

Source: World Health Organization, "Water-related diseases"

The Future

From being one of the most severe cases of high child-mortality, Mawali has experienced a decline of over seventy-three percent in the last twenty-five years. Mawali is not the only case. "Nearly 70 percent of all countries have at least halved their rates of under-five mortality". (UNICEF) Progress has been made globally and it needs to be maintained. By tackling under-five mortality problems within each country, the world can continue to see progress in the future.

Source: WorldBank, "Improved water source, rural (% of rural population with access)", WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation (http://www.wssinfo.org/).

Source: UNICEF, "Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed (Progress Report 2015)"

Visualization Created by Barbara Poon, www.barbarapoon.me