Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

The Lancet Global Health




From 1990 to 2016, the mortality of children younger than 5 years decreased by more than half, and there are plentiful data regarding mortality in this age group through which we can track global progress in reducing the under-5 mortality rate. By contrast, little is known on how the mortality risk among older children (5–9 years) and young adolescents (10–14 years) has changed in this time. We aimed to estimate levels and trends in mortality of children aged 5–14 years in 195 countries from 1990 to 2016.


In this analysis of empirical data, we expanded the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation database containing data on children younger than 5 years with 5530 data points regarding children aged 5–14 years. Mortality rates from 1990 to 2016 were obtained from nationally representative birth histories, data on household deaths reported in population censuses, and nationwide systems of civil registration and vital statistics. These data were used in a Bayesian B-spline bias-reduction model to generate smoothed trends with 90% uncertainty intervals, to determine the probability of a child aged 5 years dying before reaching age 15 years.


Globally, the probability of a child dying between the ages 5 years and 15 years was 7·5 deaths (90% uncertainty interval 7·2–8·3) per 1000 children in 2016, which was less than a fifth of the risk of dying between birth and age 5 years, which was 41 deaths (39–44) per 1000 children. The mortality risk in children aged 5–14 years decreased by 51% (46–54) between 1990 and 2016, despite not being specifically targeted by health interventions. The annual number of deaths in this age group decreased from 1·7 million (1·7 million–1·8 million) to 1 million (0·9 million–1·1 million) in 1990–2016. In 1990–2000, mortality rates in children aged 5–14 years decreased faster than among children aged 0–4 years. However, since 2000, mortality rates in children younger than 5 years have decreased faster than mortality rates in children aged 5–14 years. The annual rate of reduction in mortality among children younger than 5 years has been 4·0% (3·6–4·3) since 2000, versus 2·7% (2·3–3·0) in children aged 5–14 years. Older children and young adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately more likely to die than those in other regions; 55% (51–58) of deaths of children of this age occur in sub-Saharan Africa, despite having only 21% of the global population of children aged 5–14 years. In 2016, 98% (98–99) of all deaths of children aged 5–14 years occurred in low-income and middle-income countries, and seven countries alone accounted for more than half of the total number of deaths of these children.


Increased efforts are required to accelerate reductions in mortality among older children and to ensure that they benefit from health policies and interventions as much as younger children.


UN Children's Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development.









UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.