Maternal Mortality

Countries Vary in Progress Toward Reducing Still-High Maternal Mortality

The maternal mortality ratio is the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Globally, this ratio dropped from 380 deaths to 210 deaths per 100,000 live births between 1990 and 2013. Some countries have made remarkable progress. For example, maternal mortality in Rwanda declined from 1,400 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births to 320, a reduction of 77 percent. Even with these drops, many countries have not yet met the United Nations target for Millennium Development Goal 5: to reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio. While the ratio has declined rapidly in some countries, many others have made insufficient progress. The ratio for all developing countries is 14 times higher than for developed countries—230 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births vs. 16, and further efforts are needed to end these preventable maternal deaths.