Trends in Maternal Mortality: 2000 to 2017

Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division

Number of pages: 104

Publication date: 19 Sep 2019

Author: UNFPA, World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank Group, the United Nations Population Division

This report presents internationally comparable global, regional and country-level estimates and trends for maternal mortality between 2000 and 2017.

The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target for reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. The data in this report show that the world remains off-track in efforts to achieve this important and globally agreed objective.

The global estimates for the year 2017 indicate that there were 295,000 maternal deaths, 35 per cent lower than in 2000 when there were an estimated 451,000 maternal deaths. The global maternal mortality ratio in 2017 is estimated at 211deaths per 100,000 live births, a 38 per cent  reduction since 2000, when it was estimated at 342. The average annual rate of reduction in the global maternal mortality ratio was 2.9 per cent.

Accurate measurement of maternal mortality remains challenging and many deaths still go uncounted. Many countries still lack well functioning civil registration and vital statistics systems, and where such systems do exist, reporting errors – whether incompleteness (unregistered deaths, also known as “missing”) or misclassification of cause of death – continue to pose a major challenge to data accuracy. 

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