This report examines the latest progress towards achieving the MDGs. It reaffirms that the MDGs have made a profound difference in people’s lives.
Causes of deaths among children under 5 years by percentage (2008)
Child deaths are falling, but not quickly enough. Between 1990 and 2008, the death rate for children under five has decreased by 28 per cent, from 100 to 72 deaths per 1,000 live births. That means that, worldwide, 10,000 fewer under-fives die each day.
Many countries have shown considerable progress in tackling child mortality. Almost one third of the 49 least developed countries have managed to reduce their under five mortality rates by 40 per cent or more over the past twenty years. However, the current rate of progress is well short of the MDG target of a two-thirds reduction by 2015.
Since 1990, child mortality rates have been more than halved in Northern Africa, Eastern Asia, Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. By contrast, many countries with unacceptably high rates of child mortality, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa, have made little or no progress in recent years.
While under-five mortality rates have declined by 22 per cent since 1990 in sub-Saharan Africa, high fertility rates and the slow pace of reducing deaths mean that the absolute number of children who have died has actually increased, from four million in 1990 to 4.4 million in 2008. Sub-Saharan Africa has one fifth of the world’s children under the age of five, and it accounted for half of their 8.8 million deaths in 2008. In Southern Asia too, child mortality rates remain high, with progress insufficient to meet the 2015 target.