From 1990 to 2015, the world under five mortality rate decreased from 72.54% to 31.84%, which is a great success for every human being. However, the number of under five death is still relatively high. Especially in Sub-Saharan Africa area, it has continuely been one of the most severe killers of new borns.
The World has conducted a high amount of effort in order to improve the situation, from which, the education of women has become a vital subject to most scholars.

Mothers, are always defined as the core of the family and the community. They play an indispensable role in the growth of a child, but as we keep talking about it, in which dimension would female education really benefit the efforts of decreasing children mortality rate?

Mothers and Children

A study of Relationship Between Female Education and Under Five Mortality Rate

Mapping Out the Under Five Mortality Rate

The map below shows the global under five mortality rate in year 2015. Click on the specific countries on the map and more data would be shown on the right hand side, which is a comparison between the country selected and the global average of selected topics.
Play with it and then you can proceed below for more exploration.

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Under Five Mortality Rate (1990-2015)

(per thousand)

Adolescent Fertility Rate (1960-2014)

(per thousand)

Female Youth literacy rate


Skilled attendant at birth



Women's role in child health

The relationship between female education and the under five mortality rate varies a lot from country to country. Although the global average under five mortality rate is relatively low and the female youth literacy rate is 86.7%, there're still many countries that are suffering from both crisis.


Among all those countries that suffer from most serious under five child death, Afghanistan is the only country from South Asia. Before 2001, the country was under the control of Taliban, which caused a vast amount of harm to it's social-economic structure. Women suffered a lot during that period, they had no income, no rights, and lived in the lowest class of the society. These could all be the reason why the country stayed in such bad situation.


Child and maternal mortality rates in Angola are among the highest in the world, with almost one child in five not surviving to age five, while maternal mortality is 610 per 100,000 live births. Primary school coverage has increased since the war ended in 2002, ensuring that 76 per cent of children under 12 are enrolled in school. But progress for children has been uneven, and there have been setbacks. Life in rural areas continues to be tougher than in the cities. A million children are still outside the formal primary school system. Only one in three Angolan children gets registered at birth.

Region variation

Colored all countries by region, we can find that in most cases, countries from the same region share similar characteristics.

Top ten countries with lowest female youth literacy rate

Colored all these countries by region, it is easy to discover that countries from Sub-Saharan Africa are struggling compare to global trends. Meanwhile, these countries also have relatively high under five mortality rate.

Top ten countries with highest female youth literacy rate

Most of them are from European and Central Asia, but the under five mortality rate of these countries varies a lot. Some argue that this is a due to some cultural and traditional factors, but still, we need more evidence to prove this theory.

How does female education relate to the health of a child?

It contributes to :
- growth in population
- growth in GDP
- medical care
- family health
- Children education

For example...

Lower literacy rate contributes to higher female adolescent fertility rate, which may lead to malnutrition and a series of deseases that can be dangerous for both mother and child.

Half the reduction in child mortality over the past 40 years can be attributed to the better education of women, according to the analysis published in the journal Lancet (Click for article). For every one-year increase in the average education of reproductive-age women, a country experienced a 9.5 percent decrease in the child deaths.
A mother's education affects her children's health in myriad ways.
Better-educated women are more likely to understand disease-prevention measures such as vaccines and mosquito nets, and to use them. They are more likely to take a sick child to a clinic early and to follow treatment instructions. They are more likely to understand germ theory and set clean water and sanitation as household priorities.

In the past ten years, many global organizations have made tons of efforts to increase the female education rate in those developing countries. While their results are clear and cheerful, we shall not ignore other possible factors that may also affect both female education and the child mortality. For instance, the community circumstance that the mother and the child lived in can be a significant variable that we need to take into account.