Child mortality around the world is declining very rapidly according to an analysis by Our World of Data, Axios reports.
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There have been a record-low number of deaths in the 0-14 age group since at least 1990, with people increasingly expected to live into their 70s.
The reason behind the major bump is access to health care and vaccines, increased education for women and failing poverty rates, Keith Klugman, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s pneumonia program, told Axios.
Deaths among children under age 5 have seen the most significant drop, from 93 deaths per 1,000 in 1990 to 41 in 2016, but the rate in Africa still remains relatively high – 80 deaths under age 5 per 1,000.
Life expectancy in war-torn Syria has also dropped.
“Although it is true that in general kids die more commonly in poorer countries than richer countries, the worse places are those that are really involved in external or internal wars at the moment,” Klugman told Axios.
According to Our World of Data, which pulled data from IHME’s Global Burden of Disease Study, the three leading causes of child death are birth complications, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases and malaria, which still lead to the death of more than 400,000 children annually.
The rate of deaths in children ages 1 to 9 in the United States has also declined dramatically since 1990, when it was 46 per 100,000 compared to 26,000 per 100,000 in 2016 according to the 2018 Kids Count Data Book, which tracks state trends in child well-being.
In the Kids report, Rhode Island had the lowest mortality rate, at 15 deaths per 100,000 children and youths in 2016, and South Dakota had the highest at a rate of 47 deaths per 100,000.
The 2016 mortality rate for black children and teens (38 per 100,000) was also noticeably higher than the death rates for their peers in other racial and ethnic groups.