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India’s under-5 mortality of girls exceeds that of boys: UN Child Mortality report 

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On January 12, 2020, the United Nations(UN) inter agency group for child mortality has produced a report titled “Levels and Trends in Child Mortality”. As per this report India is among 5 countries where in 2018, the mortality of girls under the age of 5 exceeds that of the boys. Half of all under-5 deaths in 2018 occurred in the following five countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC) and Ethiopia.Levels and Trends in Child Mortality:

Report on India:

i.Gender gaps: Considering overall states and Union Territories(UTs), Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarakhand showed largest gender gaps in under-5 age mortality.

ii.Child mortality determination: The child mortality burden is determined by both  mortality rate (the proportion of children who die) and by the estimated population of any given State (total number of annual births).

  • Highest newborn deaths: Considering the burden of child mortality, Uttar Pradesh highest number of newborn deaths in India as per information released by UNICEF(United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). This is because of the high neonatal mortality rate and because of the large cohort of births.
  • Madhya Pradesh witness highest under 5 mortality while the least was witnessed in Kerala.

iii.India’s 2017 SRS: As per 2017 Sample Registration System (SRS), Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, with 32, 33 and 30 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively, had the highest burden of neonatal mortality.

  • India’s neonatal mortality rate is 23 per 1,000 live births.

General reports:

i.Under 5 age deaths: 

  • India and Nigeria alone accounted for about 1/3rd of under 5 age deaths.
  • The risk of dying before the age of 5 for girls is mostly found in Southern Asia and Western Asia.
  • Child mortality in other countries: In other countries, gender disparity in child mortality is observed. Across the world, on average boys are  expected to have a mortality rate before reaching the age of 5 than girls. But this trend is not reflected in India.

ii.Death rate: 

  • 85% of deaths globally among children & young adolescents in 2018 occured in the first 5 years of life. Totally it accounted for 5.3 million deaths in which 2.5million(47%) deaths occurred in the 1st month of life; 1.5million(29%) deaths occur at age 1-11 months; 1.3 million(25%) deaths occur at 1-4 years.
  • An additional 0.9 million deaths that occurred were among children of age 5-14 years.
  • Despite progress in child survival made over the past 2 decades, 1 child or young adolescent dies of every 5 seconds in 2018.

iii.Major neonatal mortality cause: The major cause of the neonatal mortality which is predominantly high in India are preterm birth, intrapartum related events, and neonatal infection and these result in diarrhoea and pneumonia, the major direct causes of death.

iv.Urgent need: Current trends predict that children in 5-14-year-old range, close to 10 million and 52 million children under 5 years of age will die between 2019 and 2030. Hence quick action is needed to tackle mortality rate.

Report findings:


Si.NoCategory State 
1State with largest gender gapJharkhand.
2State with highest newborn deathsUttar Pradesh.
3State with highest under 5 mortality rateMadhya Pradesh.
4State with least under 5 mortality rateKerala.


About United Nations(UN):
Headquarters- New York, United States(US).
Founded- 24 October 1945.
Secretary general- António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres