Death of the very young

The death of any child is heartbreaking and every parent will attest to the pain of even contemplating such a loss. It surely follows then that the study of child mortality should be a discipline given prominence within every country.

The graph below shows the relationship between child mortality (per 1000) for under-5 year olds and GDP per capita (average wealth in a country per person).

Child Mortality 2016

The relationship between wealth and child mortality is quite evident at least from a correlation perspective, shown as the grey curve in the chart; put simply and in general terms, as countries get wealthier child mortality levels are reduced.

If one takes the line of best fit as fundamentally sound then we can dig deeper with an analysis of outliers. The countries in red I’ve classified as negative outliers (countries that are doing worse than the fit) and the positive outliers, shown in green, are countries doing significantly better than the general prediction.

So why are countries including Nigeria, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the United States doing significantly worse in protecting the lives of their children relative to the level of wealth that each country possesses? Likewise what are the salient policies that are resulting in countries such as Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Cambodia and Nepal performing better than their level of wealth would otherwise generally facilitate?

If you have any specific insights with respect to the countries cited above, I’d love to hear from you.

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