Mortality rate, under-5, female (per 1,000 live births)

Definition: Under-five mortality rate, female is the probability per 1,000 that a newborn female baby will die before reaching age five, if subject to female age-specific mortality rates of the specified year.

Description: The map below shows how Mortality rate, under-5, female (per 1,000 live births) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Angola, with a value of 148.90. The country with the lowest value in the world is Luxembourg, with a value of 1.70.

Source: Estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division) at www.childmortality.org.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Mortality rates for different age groups (infants, children, and adults) and overall mortality indicators (life expectancy at birth or survival to a given age) are important indicators of health status in a country. Because data on the incidence and prevalence of diseases are frequently unavailable, mortality rates are often used to identify vulnerable populations. And they are among the indicators most frequently used to compare socioeconomic development across countries.

Limitations and Exceptions: Complete vital registration systems are fairly uncommon in developing countries. Thus estimates must be obtained from sample surveys or derived by applying indirect estimation techniques to registration, census, or survey data. Survey data are subject to recall error, and surveys estimating infant/child deaths require large samples because households in which a birth has occurred during a given year cannot ordinarily be preselected for sampling. Indirect estimates rely on model life tables that may be inappropriate for the population concerned. Extrapolations based on outdated surveys may not be reliable for monitoring changes in health status or for comparative analytical work.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: The main sources of mortality data are vital registration systems and direct or indirect estimates based on sample surveys or censuses. A "complete" vital registration system - covering at least 90 percent of vital events in the population - is the best source of age-specific mortality data. Estimates of neonatal, infant, and under-five mortality tend to vary by source and method for a given time and place. Years for available estimates also vary by country, making comparison across countries and over time difficult. To make neonatal, infant, and under-five mortality estimates comparable and to ensure consistency across estimates by different agencies, the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), which comprises the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Division, the World Bank, and other universities and research institutes, developed and adopted a statistical method that uses all available information to reconcile differences. The method uses statistical models to obtain a best estimate trend line by fitting a country-specific local regression model of mortality rates against their reference dates. Neonatal, infant, and under-five mortality rates are higher for boys than for girls in countries in which parental gender preferences are insignificant. Under-five mortality rates capture the effect of gender discrimination better than neonatal and infant mortality rates do. Where female child mortality is higher, girls probably have unequal access to resources.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: Relevance to gender: Given that data on the incidence and prevalence of diseases are frequently unavailable, mortality rates are often used to identify vulnerable populations. Moreover, they are among the indicators most frequently used to compare socioeconomic development across countries. Child mortality rates are higher for boys than for girls in countries in which parental gender preferences are insignificant. Child mortality captures the effect of gender discrimination better than infant mortality does, as malnutrition and medical interventions are more important in this age group. Where female child mortality is higher, as in some countries in South Asia, girls probably have unequal access to resources.