Child mortality is one of the world’s largest problems. Around 6 million children under 15 die per year. That’s around 16,000 deaths every day, or 11 every minute.
This devastating statistic reveals the vast number of children whose lives end before they can discover their talents, passions, and dreams as they grow older – and represents the impact of child mortality on so many people’s lives: parents, siblings, families, and communities.
What’s tragic is how many of these deaths are preventable. Most are caused by malnutrition, birth conditions such as preterm birth, sepsis and trauma, and infectious diseases such as pneumonia, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.
These have all declined substantially in many, but not all, parts of the world – child deaths were a grim constant in the past. For most of human history, around 1 in 2 newborns died before reaching the age of 15. By 1950, that figure had declined to around one-quarter globally. By 2020, it had fallen to 4%.
But while humanity has made much progress, there’s still a lot of work to do. To make more progress, it’s essential to have data on child mortality and its causes, and research on how to prevent it.