Through Child Mortality Change—World Can Be Better

The world is awful. The world is much better. The world can be much better.

Accurate statistics over a period of time will give us the big picture on various phenomena on their progress status and is a marvelous tool to make changes for the future.

As I wrote in my previous blog, world progress has changed in a dramatic way. If you asked about someone who was born in the early 20th century, then fast forward 50 years later, flying planes, computers, vaccinations, all sort of things emerged in a way that was unbelievably mind-blowing to a human being. And yet, a man who was born 50 years from now, though might be amazed by the changes, however, he is still seeing the things has already shaped before in a large chance. He could drive a car now as a man who also could drive a car back then. The fact is, progress has slowed down.

But now, besides the rate of progress, I want to talk about how the world is changing. There are many aspects of development for which it is true that things have improved over time, but here is a focus on child mortality, which gives three statements that are statically true at the same time.

This world is awful

Of the 137 million children born every year, 3.8% die before their 5th birthday. This means every year 5.2 million children die; on average, 14,000 children die every day. *

The world is much better

At the beginning of the 19th century, it’s estimated that 43% of the world’s children died by the age of five. If we still suffered the poor health of our ancestors more than 60 million children would die every year; 166,000 every day.*

The world can be much better

The region with the lowest child mortality is the European Union. The average in the European Union (0.4%) is 10-times lower than the global average.* In the EU 1-in-250 children die, whilst globally this is 1-in-25. If children around the world would be as well off as children in the EU then 5 million fewer children would die every year.

However, a child mortality rate of 1-in-250 is still too high, but we know that these 5 million annual deaths are preventable, and it will be a major achievement if the world as a whole catches up to that level of health.

“The big lesson of history is that things change. ”

What we learn from child mortality change over time is that it is possible to change the world. I believe that knowing that we can make a difference is one of the most important facts to know about our world as human species.

Progress never happens by itself. For millennia our ancestors were exposed to the reality of their child’s death without much defense; the fact that this changed is the achievement of the scientific, political, and economic achievements of the last few generations.

In my view, when people look at things especially on global change, they should convey both perspectives at the same time: We need to know how terrible the world still is, and,  that a better world is possible.