Subnational Under-five Mortality Estimates, 1990–2021

October 2023

The global number of under-five deaths was cut by almost half over the last two decades – down to 5.0 million in 2021 from 9.9 million in 2000. While progress on reducing under-five mortality since 2000 has been remarkable, national and global averages can fail to reflect the reality for many children at the local level.  When these data are broken down to the administrative level, some countries showing a national reduction in child mortality rates over the past decade also show an increase in child mortality rates in certain subnational areas. Subnational data can help to spotlight these areas where progress is lagging so that decision-makers can reach those who are most in need.

This brochure provides subnational under-five and neonatal mortality rate estimates from 2000-2021 across 31 countries primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. The data provide critical insight into mortality rates and trends at the level at which health interventions and decisions on resource allocation are typically made.

The estimation model has been developed by a team based at the University of Washington with support from UNICEF on behalf of the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME).


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Subnational estimates can help identify where interventions are needed most

In Nigeria, where the national under-five mortality rate for 2021 was 111 deaths per 1,000 live births, rates at administrative level 1 ranged from a low of 52 deaths per 1,000 live births to a high of 253 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2021.

Under-five mortality rate at administrative level 1 and administrative level 2 for 31 countries, 2021

National progress in reducing under-five mortality can obscure uneven subnational trends

In Chad, the national under-five mortality rate declined by 42 per cent since 2000, while the per cent decline within administrative level 1 divisions ranged from a high of 75 per cent to a low of 34 per cent (an increase since 2000).


For detailed country level data please visit