Childhood Mortality by the Numbers

In order to expand on last week’s blog post about the benefits of foreign aid, I would like to discuss child mortality and how it is decreasing because of foreign investment. If you were not convinced by my last post that foreign aid is positive, maybe you will change your mind this time.

In 1960, a newly born baby had an 18% chance of dying before his/her fifth birthday. This means that almost 1 out of every 5 babies died during early childhood. Luckily, it has drastically changed. A child born today has a 95% chance of surviving through this time. Worldwide, less than 5% die before age five and in 2035, this percentage is estimated to decrease to 1.6%.

I can’t think of any other 75-year improvement in human welfare that would even come close. – Bill Gates



You might be thinking that this is impossible; that 75 years cannot produce such huge changes. Well, I am very happy to inform you that you are incorrect. Bill Nye’s pie chart below shows that 83% of the causes of death for children under the age of five are communicable diseases. These types of diseases, such as birth problems and bad nutrition, can be prevented and avoided. Foreign aid can be used for that 83% so that these preventable diseases can be eliminated. This is why the aforementioned 75-year improvement is completely possible and fortunately the reality.

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One thought on “Childhood Mortality by the Numbers

  1. Your post caused me to think of a way that might get more help to children. Parents (of children in the US) who are the primary caregiver for their children can typically qualify for a Child Tax Credit for each qualifying child under age 17. The credit is intended to offset the cost of raising children. The maximum amount you can get for each child is about $1,000.

    Why not let individuals who normally would not qualify for that credit, make a payment towards that child’s health care or educational costs for the year. They would then get the annual tax credit. The parents of the very poorest children would don’t have enough income to take advantage of the credit, wouldn’t lose anything, childless couples or those with grown children would be able to use the deductions and of course the children receiving the support would be the biggest beneficiaries of such a program.

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