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Millennium Development Goals: Child Mortality 2009 [Chart]


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals related to poverty, education, gender equality, health, environmental sustainability and development set in the year 2000 at the UN Millennium Summit, and adopted by 189 nations. The eight MDGs are associated with 21 quantifiable targets, tracked by 60 statistical indicators in annual reports issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The goals target attainment in the year 2015. Country-by-country data is also available.

This chart tracks infant mortality according to the rate of infant (under five years old) deaths per 1000 live births in most world regions, except Northern America. Aggregate figures for developed and developing regions highlight the stark disparity in infant mortality rates. More than 12 times as many children die young in developing regions as in developed regions. In 1990, child mortality was 9 times higher than in 2007. While the total number of young children who died early in life decreased from 12.6 million in 1990 to about 9 million today, some regions show little progress during that period. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly 1 in 7 children dies before the age of five, amounting to half of all such deaths worldwide. According to experts in public health, most of these deaths are from preventable causes.

Significant gains have been achieved worldwide by increasing immunization for childhood diseases and use of vitamins, treating mothers to prevent transmission of the HIV virus to their infants, encouraging mothers to breastfeed, and providing insecticidal bednets to prevent malaria. Other measures include improving access to clean water and improving sanitation, especially in rural areas. Improved pre-natal and birthing care, and education for mothers are other important factors that can help support further declines in infant mortality.


United Nations, Millennium Development Goals Report 2009, "MDG Report 2009 ENG.pdf (application/pdf Object)." (accessed July 7, 2009).

How to Cite This Source

"Millennium Development Goals: Child Mortality 2009 [Chart]," in Children and Youth in History, Item #292, (accessed August 1, 2014). Annotated by Susan Douglass