An estimated 6.9 million children died before the age of 5 in 2011, compared with around 12 million in 1990, the U.N. Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation said Thursday
Goals set in 2000 called for reducing the global under-5 mortality rate by two-thirds from 1990 to 2015.
Only six of the world's 10 regions are on track to reach the target, U.N. officials said. An estimated 19,000 children died every day in 2011, with some 40 percent in the first month of life. Most of the deaths were from preventable causes.
The leading causes of death among young children are pneumonia, preterm birth complications, diarrhea, complications during birth and malaria. Half of all deaths of children less than 5 occur in India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China, the report said.