If India’s clubs and discotheques are busy celebrating the new year, so are the maternity wards in hospitals across the country. According to a report by UNICEF, India added 69,944 babies on New Year’s Day. As per data computed from the total number of births taking place in various countries worldwide each day, India accounts for an estimated 18% of the total number of babies born globally.
India is followed by China which welcomed 44,940 babies and Nigeria which has 25,685 babies born on January 1. An estimated 4 lakh babies were born around the world on New Year’s Day, with the year’s first baby having been born in Fiji and the last in the US.
However, due to the high infant mortality rate in India, a large number of newborns do not survive the first year due to health complications. In 2017 alone, over 1 million infants died the day they were born and 2.5 million babies died in their first month. According to UNICEF, most deaths were caused due to premature births, complications during delivery and infections life sepsis and pneumonia.
Over the last three decades, the world has seen progress in child survival rate, cutting the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half. But there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in the first month account for 47% of all deaths under age five.
The world’s second-most populated country is currently undergoing a demographic boom with a 2017 World Population Prospects stating that the population numbers to over 1.32 billion. India is projected to become the most populated country in the world by 2024, surpassing China.