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50 years ago, the world was very clearly divided into two types of countries: developed countries, characterized by low child mortality and birth rates, and developing countries, characterized by high child mortality and birth rates. An enduring myth is that this situation persists; however, staggering progress has been made with regard to these two indicators and today’s world is a very different place.
It used to be that most women in the world had 6-7 children and almost all families experienced the loss of a child. However, child mortality rates have been dropping steadily over the past half-century. Fewer child deaths mean that women can choose to have fewer children, allowing them to focus more attention and resources on each child.
By 1990, many of the so-called developing countries were in the developed category in terms of these indicators, and today, very few countries are left in the developing category when it comes to child mortality and birth rates.
This incredible progress shows that the problems related to poverty are indeed solvable. Through economic development as well as well-spent aid and access to better health and family planning services, it is possible to bring all countries in the world into the “developed” category in terms of child mortality and birth rates by 2030.