While some progress has been made in reducing the global stillbirth rate, gains are uneven; substantial inequities in stillbirth rates persist among regions and countries. The United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation launched the second report on stillbirth mortality rates that includes the most up-to-date data and estimates for stillbirth from 195 countries. The report highlights the immense and continued annual burden of stillbirths, and calls attention to the fact that when pregnant women have access to quality care, most stillbirths can be prevented.


  • In 2021, an estimated 1.9 million babies were stillborn at 28 weeks of pregnancy or later, with a global stillbirth rate of 13.9 stillbirths per 1,000 total births.
  • The report reveals huge differences in stillbirth rates across the globe, with the highest burdens in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. Stillbirths were concentrated in a few countries, with the greatest number found in India, followed by Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.
  • The unequal burden of stillbirths is also observed within countries, as access to health care, maternal education and other socioeconomic factors differs.
  • Compared to the annual rates of reduction (ARR) for other mortality indicators, the gains made in stillbirths have been much slower, with progress lagging behind across all regions since 2000. The ARR 2000-2021 in mortality for children aged 1–59 months, for example, was double the ARR in stillbirths for the same period (4.0 per cent to 2.0 per cent, respectively).

How to Use

These wide discrepancies reiterate the need for all countries to take action and understand who carries the heaviest burden so that we can end preventable stillbirths for all women and families. Stakeholders can use this report to inform national stillbirth reduction targets and incorporate stillbirth prevention into public health planning and communication platforms.