MAKING SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS
During the Middle Ages, more than half of all children did not reach the age of 14, and as recently as 1870 one child in every four did not reach adulthood. By 1970, child mortality in Germany had decreased to about 25 out of every 1,000 children. The causes of this decline were the improved living conditions brought by prosperity, hygienic measures, and pediatrics. In recent decades, the further development of healthcare for pregnant women, obstetrics, and neonatal medicine have reduced child mortality in the Western countries to four in every 1,000 live births on average.
But paradoxically, even though the conditions for pregnancy and childbirth are much better in the West than they were just 100 years ago, fewer children are being born in these countries. Only one or two children are being born per family, instead of the eight or ten that used to be the norm. Children are no longer a guarantee that their parents will be cared for in old age.