Levels and trends in child mortality
United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME), Report 2022
In total, more than 5.0 million children under age 5, including 2.3 million newborns, along with 2.1 million children and youth aged 5 to 24 years – 43 per cent of whom are adolescents – died in 2021. This tragic and massive loss of life, most of which was due to preventable or treatable causes, is a stark reminder of the urgent need to end preventable deaths of children and young people. Sadly, these deaths were mostly preventable with widespread and effective interventions like improved care around the time of birth, vaccination, nutritional supplementation and water and sanitation programmes.
Timely, high-quality and disaggregated data – which allow the most vulnerable children to be identified – are critical to achieving the goal of ending preventable deaths of children. Yet as the COVID-19 pandemic has put into stark light, data of this nature are more the exception than the rule: Just 36 countries have high-quality nationally representative data on under-five mortality for 2021, while about half the world’s countries have no data on child mortality in the last five years. These substantial data gaps pose enormous challenges to policy- and decision-making and prolong the need for modelling mortality from what little data are available. To improve the availability, quality and timeliness of data for monitoring the health and survival situation of children and youth, much greater investments must be made to strengthen data systems.