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Mortality between ages 5 and 15

Population and Societies

559, October 2018

The mortality of children under age 5, which has fallen substantially across the world in recent years, is a closely monitored indicator of health in a country. But what about the mortality of older children? Drawing on data from a new international database, Bruno Masquelier describes the risks of dying between ages 5 and 15, how they vary across different countries, and the measures that could be taken to reduce mortality in this age group.

Across the world, around one million children aged between 5 and 15 years died in 2017. For a child on its fifth birthday, the risk of dying before reaching its fifteenth birthday is 7.2 per 1,000. This is five times lower than the risk for a newborn of dying before age 5 (39 per 1,000). Mortality between ages 5 and 15 halved between 1990 and 2017, and most deaths in this age group now occur in low- and middle-income countries. In 2017, one-third of all deaths were concentrated in West and Central Africa, where the probability of dying at these ages is more than 20 times higher than in Western Europe.

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