Bar chart tracks deaths in children under 5 by region. based on UNICEF data. Created using Mekko Graphics.

Worldwide Decline in Child Mortality

Deaths in children under 5 have declined by 55% worldwide from 12.6 million in 1990 to 5.6 million in 2016, according to the UNICEF Child Mortality Report 2017.  Declines were sharpest in Eastern Asia (88%) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (71%).  Two regions now account for 80% of child under 5 deaths.  Sub-Saharan Africa, which experienced only a 27% decline, now accounts for almost half of all deaths.  Southern Asia, which experienced a 64% decline, now accounts for over 30% of all deaths.  The UNICEF data is summarized in the bar chart below:Bar chart tracks deaths in children under 5 by region. based on UNICEF data. Created using Mekko Graphics.

To create this chart, I started with the UNICEF report and used pdftables to create a spreadsheet from the report.  I copied the relevant table from the spreadsheet into the bar chart I created using Mekko Graphics in PowerPoint.  I analyzed the data by region to choose the regions with the most child deaths in 1990.  Five regions accounted for 92% of the deaths.  I grouped all other regions into a Rest of World category.

I also added the computations for the percentage decline as a data column.  I used the Custom Sort feature to sort all the data so that the regions are ordered based on the number of deaths in 1990 with Rest of World on top.  I removed the bars for 1995, 2005 and 2015 as they did not add much to the data.  I used data scaling to show the bar totals in millions even though they were input in thousands.

I showed percentage values in the segments to indicate how those percentages changed from 1990 to 2015.  This helped reinforce the message that child death is still a major problem in two regions (Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa).  I used annotation lines to show the percentages in 2016 in the three smallest regions and linking lines between the bars to highlight the decline in each region.

I added a legend and then formatted the chart so that the legend and data column are in the upper right hand space of the chart and are aligned with each other.  I removed the X and Y axis lines to give the chart a cleaner look.

Download this chart to use in PowerPoint.