Data

MDG5.A: Maternal mortality ratio

What you should know about this indicator

Maternal mortality ratio is the number of women who die from pregnancy-related causes while pregnant or within 42 days of pregnancy termination per 100,000 live births. The data are estimated with a regression model using information on the proportion of maternal deaths among non-AIDS deaths in women ages 15-49, fertility, birth attendants, and GDP measured using purchasing power parities (PPPs).

Limitations and exceptions: The methodology differs from that used for previous estimates, so data should not be compared historically. Maternal mortality ratios are generally of unknown reliability, as are many other cause-specific mortality indicators. The ratios cannot be assumed to provide an exact estimate of maternal mortality.

Statistical concept and methodology: Reproductive health is a state of physical and mental well-being in relation to the reproductive system and its functions and processes. Means of achieving reproductive health include education and services during pregnancy and childbirth, safe and effective contraception, and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death and disability among women of reproductive age in developing countries.

Maternal mortality is generally of unknown reliability, as are many other cause-specific mortality indicators. Household surveys such as Demographic and Health Surveys attempt to measure maternal mortality by asking respondents about survivorship of sisters. The main disadvantage of this method is that the estimates of maternal mortality that it produces pertain to any time within the past few years before the survey, making them unsuitable for monitoring recent changes or observing the impact of interventions. In addition, measurement of maternal mortality is subject to many types of errors. Even in high-income countries with reliable vital registration systems, misclassification of maternal deaths has been found to lead to serious underestimation.

The estimates are based on an exercise by the Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (MMEIG) which consists of World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Bank, and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and include country-level time series data. For countries without complete registration data but with other types of data and for countries with no data, maternal mortality is estimated with a regression model using available national maternal mortality data and socioeconomic information.

Notes from original source: Estimates of maternal mortality are presented along with upper and lower limits of intervals (see footnote) designed to depict the uncertainty of estimates. The intervals are the product of a detailed probabilistic evaluation of the uncertainty attributable to the various components of the estimation process. For estimates derived from the multilevel regression model, the components of uncertainty were divided into two groups: those reflected within the regression model (internal sources), and those due to assumptions or calculations that occur outside the model (external sources). Estimates of the total uncertainty reflect a combination of these various sources.

Source
Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 20, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range
2000–2020
Unit
modeled estimate, per 100,000 live births

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

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“Data Page: MDG5.A: Maternal mortality ratio”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/maternal-mortality-mdgs [online resource]
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Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “MDG5.A: Maternal mortality ratio” [dataset]. World Health Organization, “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved July 21, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/maternal-mortality-mdgs