Child Loss Statistics 2023/2024 – Child Death Facts USA and UK

Child Loss Statistics 2024

The death of a child is, for those who experience it, utterly heartbreaking and life changing. The loss of any life is a devastating one. But processing the loss of a child in particular can be difficult. 

We’ve looked at the data from our recent grief and bereavement statistics post specific to the loss of a child to find out how common this is. And we’ve pulled in data from other sources for this piece looking at child loss statistics in 2023 and 2024.

The Devastating Facts

Our key facts and figures are here, while more information can be found within the post:

  • 6.5% of parents in the UK have experienced the death of a child under the age of 18 (this will include stillbirths and miscarriages)
  • There are around 5 children every week in the UK who die of a childhood cancer
  • Over 9,000 children die in the USA every year
  • The child mortality in the USA is 27 per 100,000 (in those aged 1 to 19)
  • Those aged between 1 and 19 in Mississippi are three times as likely to die as those of the same age in Massachusetts

How Many Parents Have Experienced the Death of a Child?

Our 2023 survey asked 2009 people in the UK (a demographically representative sample sourced by working with a market research company) which types of loss and death they’d experienced.

6.57% told us they’d experienced the death of a child aged under 18. This is likely to encompass losses ranging from stillbirth, sudden infant death right up to the loss of teenagers.

Deaths Amongst Children in the USA – the Statistics

In 2021, the death rate amongst those aged 1 – 19 years old is  27 per 100,000.

It’s a low rate overall (compared with countries where children are routinely malnourished, affected by war or don’t have access to routine healthcare to help cure conditions like pneumonia or other infections). But that represents over 9,700 sets of grieving parents, families and friends.

But this is hugely variable across different states.

US StateDeaths Per 100,000 amongst those aged 1 – 19 years
Massachusetts14.7
Rhode Island16.5
New Jersey16.9
New York18.1
Connecticut18.3
Hawaii18.9
New Hampshire19.6
California21.3
Oregon22.0
Vermont22.6
Washington23.7
Maine24.0
Maryland24.2
Minnesota24.2
Virginia25.1
Utah25.2
Wisconsin25.4
Pennsylvania25.8
Iowa25.9
Nebraska26.3
Michigan27.0
Illinois27.1
United States27.4
Nevada27.8
Ohio28.2
Florida28.3
Texas28.3
Delaware28.9
North Dakota29.3
Idaho29.6
Colorado29.8
North Carolina30.1
Kansas31.8
West Virginia32.2
Georgia32.5
Indiana33.3
Kentucky33.7
Arizona34.3
Oklahoma34.5
Missouri35.2
Tennessee35.5
District of Columbia36.1
South Carolina36.8
South Dakota36.8
Wyoming37.8
Arkansas38.1
New Mexico38.4
Alabama41.0
Montana42.6
Louisiana43.7
Alaska45.6
Mississippi48.0
  • The gulf between Mississippi and Massachusetts is sizable, with children in the former more than 3 times as likely to die between the ages of 1 and 19 as those in the latter.

Stillbirth Statistics in 2024

Stillbirths are one particular cause of child loss. Globally, there are over 2 million stillbirths every single year, which equates to one every 16 seconds. 

Over 40% of these occur during labor, something that the WHO describes as “a loss that could be avoided with improved quality and respectful care during childbirth.”

According to the latest data (2021 World Health Organization statistics), the 10 countries in the world with the highest rate of stillbirth are as follows:

CountryStillbirths Per 1,000 total births in 2021
Guinea-Bissau31.21
Pakistan30.92
Somalia28.02
Democratic Republic of the Congo27.68
Djibouti26.75
Lesotho26.66
Central African Republic26.28
South Sudan25.84
Afghanistan25.68
Chad25.28

As the opposite end of the scale, the 10 countries where the statistics show the lowest stillbirths are:

CountryStillbirths Per 1,000 total births in 2021
Monaco1.56
Japan1.57
San Marino1.67
Republic of Korea1.74
Iceland1.79
Singapore1.86
Denmark1.91
Estonia1.93
Finland1.94
Norway2.09

In context, the UK has the 29th lowest rate (2.70 per 1,000 births) and the USA has the 30th lowest (2.73).

Only 9 countries in the world have a stillbirth rate lower than 2 per 1,000 births and, shockingly, 29 countries have a rate higher than 20 per 1,000 births.

Causes of Death in Children in the USA

The death of a child is uncommon in the USA.

Child Loss Support on Social Media

In times of difficulty, many people turn to groups on social media for advice or even to share their own stories. There countless devastating stories on Tiktok and Instagram, amongst others, of child loss.

At the time of writing (December 2023) here are the number of uses for the 10 most common child loss related hashtags on Instagram:

HashtagNumber of Uses
#childloss304,231
#childlossawareness40,071
#childlosssupport27,231
#childlosssurvivor14,365
#childlossgrief9,961
#childlossmother3,257
#childlossjourney3,752
#childlosscommunity2,765

Dealing with Child Loss

Dealing with child loss is not something for which there’s a simple one plan fits all. Grief is complex, for the parents and wider family of the child too.

It’s a life changing event that can take many years to come to terms with.

If you’re looking for support, we recommend the following resources:

Helping Parents Heal

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