World Facts

Countries Seeing The Most Deaths Of Very Young Children

1.2 Million children under the age of 5 died in India in 2015. Large population sizes and poor healthcare access drive high childhood mortality totals elsewhere as well.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5.9 million children under the age of 5 years died in 2015 translating to 16,000 children every day. African region still records the highest number of children dying before their fifth birthday (81 deaths per 1000 live births) while European region records the lowest deaths at only 11 deaths per 1000 live births. Many countries particularly those in Africa still record very high under-five mortality rates with a total of seven countries recording over 100 deaths in every 1,000 live births. It is important to note that under-five mortality rates have reduced by 53% from a rate of 90 deaths for 1000 live births in the 1990s to 42 deaths for 1000 live births. The aim is to reduce under-five year death to below 25 deaths per 1000 live birth. Some of the countries seeing most deaths of very young children are discussed below.


Approximately 1.2 million children die before their fifth birthday in India being the highest in the whole world. The figures represent 20% of under-five deaths in the world. The good news is that the under-five mortality rate has reduced from 126 deaths in 1000 live birth in the 1990s to only 48 deaths in every 1000 live births in 2015 representing 62% reduction. Children born in the rural India are three times more likely to die compared to those born high-income urban parts. Some of the common causes of infant mortality there include diarrhea, which accounts for 9% of the deaths, and pneumonia, accounting for 15% of the deaths. Malnutrition and sudden death syndrome in children are also leading causes of infant mortality.


2,055 children die every day in Nigeria. 750,111 under five-year-old children deaths reported in Nigeria in 2015. According to UNICEF, Nigeria is slowly making progress towards reducing mortality rates and achieving the required status under the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Preventable and curable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, and AIDS are some of the leading causes of infant deaths in Nigeria accounting for more than 70% of the mortality. Malnutrition, especially in rural Nigeria, is also one of the main causes of infant deaths accounting for 50% of the deaths.


Child health situation in Pakistan is considered grave and necessary measures should be taken to save the lives of thousands of children who die every year. 432,000 children under the age of 5 years die every year from preventable diseases with the majority dying before their first birthday. Air pollution and pneumonia are some of the leading causes of death among children in Pakistan. Lack of proper child healthcare has also contributed to significant deaths among infants.

Improving Health Care a Dire Need in these Countries

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, China, and Angola each reported more than 150,000 infant deaths in 2015. Even though the deaths have reduced significantly in recent decades, a great deal still remains needed to be done, especially in the way of improved nutrition and dealing with preventable diseases and infections. Cultural practices, especially those that oppress women and children, must be discarded to reduce both infant and maternal deaths. Governments need to make child healthcare accessible especially for children born in the rural area and among poor communities. High mortality is a negative indicator of the health of a population in any country.

Countries Seeing The Most Deaths Of Very Young Children

RankCountryDeaths of Children Younger Than 5 Years Old in 2015
4DR Congo304,558

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