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The number of children dying each year has more than halved since 1990

Our World in Data presents the empirical evidence on global development in entries dedicated to specific topics.

This blog post draws on data and research discussed in our entry on Child Mortality.

You can explore how the number of child deaths in each country has changed here.

The loss of a child is heartbreaking. The loss of millions of children each year is one of the world’s greatest tragedies.

This makes progress in preventing child deaths one of our greatest successes. Globally the number of children (younger than 5) dying each year has more than halved since 1990 — falling from 12.6 million to 5.4 million in 2017. At the same time, the number of births has increased slightly, so that the decline of the rate of child mortality is larger.

More than 5 million deaths each year — ten children every minute — is still unacceptably high. This is especially true considering most die from preventable causes. We can and must do better: recent progress and our current reality makes clear that both are true.