Globally, 2.6 million babies die during their first month of life (the newborn period) and 2.6 million babies are stillborn.

This page provides the latest global, country, and regional estimates related to neonatal survival. The information supports government, program managers, policymakers, and stakeholders in planning for newborn health policy and implementation. For questions or information not found on this resource page, please contact us.



QUick Facts


Babies die during the first month of their life


Die on their birth day


percentage of under 5 deaths that are newborns


Three main causes of death —prematurity, complications during childbirth, and neonatal infections — account for more than 80 percent of newborn deaths. Complications during childbirth and from preterm birth together accounted for one-fourth of all under-5 child deaths.

  • 35% Preterm birth complications
  • 24% Intrapartum related events
  • 16% Sepsis/meningitis/tetanus
  • 1% Diarrhoea
  • 6% Pneumonia
  • 11% Congenital abnormalities
  • 7% Other conditions
Liu et al. 2016. Global, regional, and national causes of under-5 mortality in 2000–15: an updated systematic analysis with implications for the Sustainable Development Goals. Lancet.


The day a baby is born is the most dangerous day of a child’s life in all countries, rich and poor. About 1 million children die each year on the day they are born, representing 15 percent of all deaths among under-5 children each year. Data and evidence shows that if nations are committed to accelerate progress in reducing child mortality, they must concentrate more attention and resources around delivering quality care at the time of birth and during the critical days and weeks after birth. Care at birth brings a quadruple return on investment: preventing maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths, and improving child development and morbidity outcomes. Nearly half of births in low-income countries occur without a skilled attendant, and even fewer mothers and babies have postnatal contact with providers who can deliver interventions that save lives. Learn more about deaths on the first day of life.


Die on their birth day representing


of all deaths among under-5 children each year


The day a baby is born is the most dangerous day of life in countries rich and poor. Over 90 percent of newborn deaths occur in Africa and Asia. Nearly half of births in low-income countries occur without a skilled attendant, and even fewer mothers and babies have postnatal contact with providers who can deliver interventions that save lives.


The Millennium Development Goal era (1990-2015) saw rapid declines in maternal and child mortality. Newborn mortality declined at a slower pace than that of post-neonatal under-5 mortality, 49 percent compared with 62 percent globally, falling from 37 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 19 in 2016. As a result, the proportion of newborn deaths among all under-5 deaths is now 46 percent, up from 40 percent in 1990. Newborn deaths have decreased from 5.1 million in 1990 to 2.6 million in 2016.

With the share of under-five deaths during the neonatal period is rising in every region and almost all countries, newborn health must be addressed more effectively if progress on overall mortality is to continue at a rapid rate.


Over two-thirds of newborn deaths could be prevented through the high coverage of cost-effective, low-tech maternal and newborn health interventions. Evidence-based strategies to save the lives of women and babies include a menu of interventions that are usually provided through integrated service delivery packages at different levels along the continuum of care, from pre-pregnancy, through pregnancy and birth, as well as postnatal care. National coverage data is available for some service delivery packages (e.g., antenatal care, skilled attendance) and for a few specific interventions that have been a focus for a longer time, such as tetanus toxoid immunization. Other high-impact neonatal interventions with recent attention, such as kangaroo mother care and neonatal resuscitation, have no national data available.

Learn about measuring coverage of key interventions: visit HNN’s Newborn Indicators page.


Global Health Observatory

The Global Health Observatory (GHO) is WHO’s portal providing access to data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation. GHO covers global health priorities such as the health-related Millennium Development Goals, mortality and burden of disease, health systems, environmental health, noncommunicable diseases, infectious diseases, health equity, and violence and injuries. World Health Statistics is the WHO’s annual report that presents the most recent health statistics for 193 member states. All reports are available for downloading in PDF and Excel and include country-level data on mortality rates, cause of death, human resources, and coverage indicators.

Child Mortality Estimates

Child Mortality Estimates (CME Info) is a database containing the latest child mortality estimates based on the research of the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. Raw data inputs for country neonatal mortality estimates can be downloaded here, including latest estimates, trend data, and methodology for neonatal mortality.

Demographic and Health Surveys

The USAID-funded DHS program provides technical assistance to countries to conduct surveys on population, health, HIV, and nutrition, advancing global understanding of health and population trends in developing countries. Reports, survey questionnaires, and related materials are available for downloading. The DHS website also includes STATcompiler, which provides quick facts and country comparisons, allowing users to build customized tables from hundreds of DHS surveys and indicators.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is based in the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. IHME works to advance modeling methods for global health issues including mortality and health financing, among others. It also coordinates work for the Global Burden of Disease studies.

Guttmacher International Data Center

The Guttmacher International Data Center allows users to create tables and maps with the most current data available from 75 countries and 22 world regions. The Data Center is an easy to use tool for finding information on abortion, pregnancy, services and financing, adolescents, and contraception.

The Lancet Every Newborn Series

This series of papers, published in May 2014 in The Lancet, presents the clearest picture to date of progress and challenges in improving newborn survival around the world. The series sets targets that must be achieved by 2030 in order to ensure every newborn has a healthy start.

State of the World’s Mothers

In 2013, Save the Children released its fourteenth State of the World’s Mothers report, highlighting newborn health –  which countries are doing the best and which are doing the worst at preventing newborn deaths.The report includes the Birth Day Risk Index and the renowned Mothers Index. You can download the full report in English; the executive summary is available in multiple languages.

A decade of change for newborn survival (2000-2010): a multi country analysis of progress towards scale

The supplement, “A decade of change for newborn survival (2000–2010): a multi-country analysis of progress towards scale,” published in Health Policy and Planning, presents a comprehensive analysis of the changes in newborn care and survival from 2000 to 2010 and five detailed country case studies on the process of taking solutions to scale to accelerate progress for reduction of mortality and morbidity. It was coordinated by Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program in collaboration with over 150 contributors.

The Lancet Series on Stillbirth

The first ever global and national estimates of stillbirths were presented in The Lancet Series on Stillbirth, which also provided the most comprehensive assessment to date of global numbers and causes of stillbirths, perceptions and beliefs around the world, and solutions to prevent stillbirths.

Seminars in Perinatology: Global Perinatal Health

The December 2010 issue of Seminars in Perinatology highlights Global Perinatal Health. The papers provide insight on accelerating progress through innovations, interactions, and interconnections. Read the article that reviews progress for newborn health globally, with a focus on the countries in which most deaths occur.

The State of the World’s Children

Each year, The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF’s flagship publication, closely examines a key issue affecting children. The report includes supporting data and statistics that can be downloaded and is also available in French and Spanish. Childinfo contains UNICEF’s statistical information, including data used in UNICEF’s publications, The State of the World’s Children and Progress for Children. In addition, Childinfo holds technical resources for conducting UNICEF-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), a major source of global development data.

Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey: UNICEF assists countries in collecting and analyzing data in order to fill data gaps for monitoring the situation of children and women through its international household survey initiative the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).