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This is a very recent development and was only reached after a hundredfold decline in child mortality in these countries.In early-modern times, child mortality was very high; in 18th century Sweden every third child died, and in 19th century Germany every second child died.One reason why we do not see progress is that we are unaware of how bad the past was.
Over the last decades we have seen a very rapid decline of child mortality globally.
Other countries – especially in Africa – still have high child mortality rates, but its not true that these countries are not making progress.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, child mortality has been continuously falling for the last 50 years (1 in 4 children died in the early 60s – today it is less than 1 in 10).
The time series plot shows that these low mortality rates are a very recent development, and in pre-modern countries child mortality rates were between 30% and 50%.
In the late 19th century, every second child in Germany died before its fifth birthday.