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#2262: : UNICEF's on the well-being of the world's children: White comments

From: steven white <stevelong@spyral.net>

The U5MR is a part of what is called the "life table" which is the
statistical device used to calculate life expectancy. Therefore it could
be referred to as the part of the life expectancy statistic directly
pertaining to children.  This is the part of the life table with the
most variability and the most impact on life expectancy; you can
actually get a good estimate of life expectancy of a whole population
just by looking at the early years.  The fact that this figure has
declined by 12% in the 8 years from 1990 to 1998 shows that progress can
occur even in hard times.

What is Haitian society doing to bring down the U5MR?  Probably the most
important factor is the reduction of the fertility rate.  Haitians are
having less children on average and are thus better able to care for
them.  The birth rate declined by 22% from 1989 to 1997.  The declines
in the birth and death rates are good news, even if we wish it could be
happening faster.  We can argue about politics and religion, but all
will agree that less death is a positive development.  What can the
government do to assist the transition in Haiti from a high mortality,
high fertility society?  Education and women's rights are the two
variables that are most closely correlated to lower fertility, and
thence to improving conditions for children and increasing economic

Demographic analysis courtesy of Steven White, a "common tater".