Embryology Statistics

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World neonatal death map
(larger is more)

There are many different types of statistical analyses carried out in relation to normal and abnormal development. The best place to start is with the normal birth statistics. Always ensure when using any statistical data that you pay attention to when the information was collected or when it relates to as often it is the "trend" over time that is insightful to changes that may be occuring in the population. The World population calculated to have reached 7 billion (November 2011).

I have included separate pages with world data by country (Population, Fertility and Infant Mortality) and some selected country statistical information on the highest population countries (China, India, United States, Indonesia and Brazil) as well as some examples of highest developed countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and United States).

Statistics Links: Introduction | Reports | World Population | World Fertility | World Infant Mortality | Maternal Mortality | Australia | Brazil | Canada | China | Germany | India | Indonesia | Europe | Myanmar | Netherlands | Spain | United Kingdom | Romania | Uganda | United States | BGD Tutorial - Applied Embryology and Teratology | National Perinatal Statistics Unit | AIHW | Category:Statistics
Australia’s mothers and babies: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | National Perinatal Statistics Unit | AIHW | Australian Statistics | birth

<html5media width="600" height="500">https://www.youtube.com/embed/jbkSRLYSojo</html5media>

Some Recent Findings

World Population (2010)
  • Sex ratios among infants with birth defects, National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997-2009.[1] "A small number of population-based studies have examined sex differences among infants with birth defects. This study presents estimates of sex ratio for both isolated cases and those with multiple congenital anomalies, as well as by race/ethnicity. Male-female sex ratios and their 95% confidence intervals were calculated for 25,952 clinically reviewed case infants included in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (1997-2009), a large population-based case-control study of birth defects. The highest elevations in sex ratios (i.e., male preponderance) among isolated non-cardiac defects were for craniosynostosis (2.12), cleft lip with cleft palate (2.01), and cleft lip without cleft palate (1.78); the lowest sex ratios (female preponderance) were for choanal atresia (0.45), cloacal exstrophy (0.46), and holoprosencephaly (0.64). Among isolated cardiac defects, the highest sex ratios were for aortic stenosis (2.88), coarctation of the aorta (2.51), and d-transposition of the great arteries (2.34); the lowest were multiple ventricular septal defects (0.52), truncus arteriosus (0.63), and heterotaxia with congenital heart defect (0.64). Differences were observed by race/ethnicity for some but not for most types of birth defects. The sex differences we observed for specific defects, between those with isolated versus multiple defects, as well as by race/ethnicity, demonstrate patterns that may suggest etiology and improve classification." USA | abnormal development


Links: Australia | Canada | India | United Kingdom | United States

World Health Statistics 2014

  • Large gains in life expectancy - "A boy born in 2012 in a high-income country can expect to live to the age of around 76 – 16 years longer than a boy born in a low-income country (age 60). For girls, the difference is even wider; a gap of 19 years separates life expectancy in high-income (82 years) and low-income countries (63 years)."
  • Most deaths among under-fives occur among children born prematurely (17.3%); pneumonia is responsible for the second highest number of deaths (15.2%).
Links: World Health Statistics 2014

The World Health Report 1998


  • The global population was 2.8 billion in 1955 and is 5.8 billion now. It will increase by nearly 80 million people a year to reach about 8 billion by the year 2025.
  • In 1955, 68% of the global population lived in rural areas and 32% in urban areas. (In 1995 the ratio was 55% rural and 45% urban; by 2025 it will be 41% rural and 59% urban).
  • Every day in 1997, about 365 000 babies were born, and about 140 000 people died, giving a natural increase of about 220 000 people a day.
  • Today's population is made up of 613 million children under 5; 1.7 billion children and adolescents aged 5-19; 3.1 billion adults aged 20-64; and 390 million over 65.
  • The proportion of older people requiring support from adults of working age will increase from 10.5% in 1955 and 12.3% in 1995 to 17.2% in 2025.
  • In 1955, there were 12 people aged over 65 for every 100 aged under 20. By 1995, the old/young ratio was 16/100; by 2025 it will be 31/100.
  • The proportion of young people under 20 years will fall from 40% now to 32% of the total population by 2025, despite reaching 2.6 billion - an actual increase of 252 million.
  • The number of people aged over 65 will rise from 390 million now to 800 million by 2025 - reaching 10% of the total population.
  • By 2025, increases of up to 300% of the older population are expected in many developing countries, especially in Latin America and Asia.
  • Globally, the population of children under 5 will grow by just 0.25% annually between 1995-2025, while the population over 65 years will grow by 2.6%.
  • The average number of babies per woman of child-bearing age was 5.0 in 1955, falling to 2.9 in 1995 and reaching 2.3 in 2025. While only 3 countries were below the population replacement level of 2.1 babies in 1955, there will be 102 such countries by 2025.

Health of Infants and Small Children

  • Spectacular progress in reducing under 5 mortality achieved in the last few decades is projected to continue. There were about 10 million such deaths in 1997 compared to 21 million in 1955.
  • The infant mortality rate per 1000 live births was 148 in 1955; 59 in 1995; and is projected to be 29 in 2025. The under-5 mortality rates per 1000 live births for the same years are 210, 78 and 37 respectively.
  • By 2025 there will still be 5 million deaths among children under five - 97% of them in the developing world, and most of them due to infectious diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, combined with malnutrition.
  • There are still 24 million low-birthweight babies born every year. They are more likely to die early, and those who survive may suffer illness, stunted growth or even problems into adult life.
  • In 1995, 27% (168 million) of all children under 5 were underweight. Mortality rates are 5 times higher among severely underweight children than those of normal weight.
  • About 50% of deaths among children under 5 are associated with malnutrition.
  • At least two million a year of the under-five deaths could be prevented by existing vaccines. Most of the rest are preventable by other means.

Life Expectancy

  • Average life expectancy at birth in 1955 was just 48 years; in 1995 it was 65 years; in 2025 it will reach 73 years.
  • By the year 2025, it is expected that no country will have a life expectancy of less than 50 years.
  • More than 50 million people live today in countries with a life expectancy of less than 45 years.
  • Over 5 billion people in 120 countries today have life expectancy of more than 60 years.
  • About 300 million people live in 16 countries where life expectancy actually decreased between 1975-1995.
  • Many thousands of people born this year will live through the 21st century and see the advent of the 22nd century. For example, while there were only 200 centenarians in France in 1950, by the year 2050, the number is projected to reach 150 000 - a 750-fold increase in 100 years.

Data: The World Health Report Published by WHO, 11 May 1998 ISBN 92 4 156189 0. WHO


Eurocat is a European network of population-based registries for the epidemiologic surveillance of congenital anomalies. Started in 1979 with more than 1.5 million births surveyed per year in Europe, 43 registries in 20 countries, and 29% of European birth population covered. High quality multiple source registries, ascertaining terminations of pregnancy as well as births.

Links: eurocat



Australia's mothers and babies is an annual report providing information on births in Australia from perinatal data collections for each state and territory. The report presents demographic, pregnancy and childbirth factors of women who gave birth in that year and the characteristics and outcomes of their babies.

Links: Australia | Australia’s mothers and babies 2008 | Australia’s mothers and babies 2007 | Abnormal Development - Australian Statistics | BGD Tutorial - Applied Embryology and Teratology |

World Population 2011

World Population (2010)

Data approximates to beginning of 2011.

Rank Country Population
1 China 1,336,718,015
2 India 1,189,172,906
3 United States 313,232,044
4 Indonesia 245,613,043
5 Brazil 203,429,773
6 Pakistan 187,342,721
7 Bangladesh 158,570,535
8 Nigeria 155,215,573
9 Russia 138,739,892
10 Japan 126,475,664
11 Mexico 113,724,226
12 Philippines 101,833,938
13 Ethiopia 90,873,739
14 Vietnam 90,549,390
15 Egypt 82,079,636
16 Germany 81,471,834
17 Turkey 78,785,548
18 Iran 77,891,220
19 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 71,712,867
20 Thailand 66,720,153
21 France 65,312,249
22 United Kingdom 62,698,362
23 Italy 61,016,804
24 Burma 53,999,804
25 South Africa 49,004,031
26 Korea, South 48,754,657
27 Spain 46,754,784
28 Ukraine 45,134,707
29 Sudan 45,047,502
30 Colombia 44,725,543
31 Tanzania 42,746,620
32 Argentina 41,769,726
33 Kenya 41,070,934
34 Poland 38,441,588
35 Algeria 34,994,937
36 Uganda 34,612,250
37 Canada 34,030,589
38 Morocco 31,968,361
39 Iraq 30,399,572
40 Afghanistan 29,835,392
41 Nepal 29,391,883
42 Peru 29,248,943
43 Malaysia 28,728,607
44 Uzbekistan 28,128,600
45 Venezuela 27,635,743
46 Saudi Arabia 26,131,703
47 Ghana 24,791,073
48 Korea, North 24,457,492
49 Yemen 24,133,492
50 Taiwan 23,071,779
51 Mozambique 22,948,858
52 Syria 22,517,750
53 Madagascar 21,926,221
54 Romania 21,904,551
55 Australia 21,766,711

Complete Population List

World Iodine Status

World map iodine status 2007.jpg

WHO Statistics World map iodine status (2007)[2]

Links: Abnormal Development - Iodine Deficiency | Endocrine - Thyroid Development | Neural System Development | Neural System - Abnormalities | WHO Micronutrients Database


  1. Michalski AM, Richardson SD, Browne ML, Carmichael SL, Canfield MA, VanZutphen AR, Anderka MT, Marshall EG & Druschel CM. (2015). Sex ratios among infants with birth defects, National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997-2009. Am. J. Med. Genet. A , 167A, 1071-81. PMID: 25711982 DOI.
  2. Bruno de Benoist, B Erin McLean, Maria Andersson, and Lisa Rogers Iodine deficiency in 2007: Global progress since 1993. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 29, no. 3 © 2008, The United Nations University. PDF


  • WHO Guidelines on Preventing Early Pregnancy and Poor Reproductive Health Outcomes Among Adolescents in Developing Countries. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2011. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304954/


Statistics Terms (expand to view) 
Birth | Embryology Statistics
  • confidence interval - An interval describing the range of values within which there is reasonable certainty that the true effect lies. Uncertainty increases with the width of the interval.
  • double blind study - A statistical study in which neither the subject nor the observer is aware of which treatment or intervention the subject is receiving in order to protect against bias.
  • epidemiology - The statistical study of diseases within a population, covering the causes and means of prevention.
  • incidence - rate of new (newly diagnosed) cases of the disease, reported as the number of new cases occurring within a period of time. This can also be further categorized by different subsets of the population; gender, racial origin, age group or by diagnostic category.
  • Kaplan-Meier - commonly used statistical probability of survival (life-table) method used in medicine. Data requires both the time of commencement of the treatment and the time the measured event occurred (death, relapse, hospitalization).
  • mean difference - the absolute difference between the mean value in two groups in a clinical trial, which estimates the amount by which the intervention changes the outcome on average compared with the control.
  • meta analysis - The pooled results from a collection of independent statistical studies to merge their findings into a single estimate of a treatment effect. Note depending upon the individual studies criteria it may be inappropriate or misleading to statistically pool results in this way.
  • multi centre study - A statistical study where subjects are selected from different locations or populations.
  • odds ratio - the ratio of the likelihood of an event occurring in one group to that of it occurring in another group. An odds ratio of 1 indicates that the condition or event under study is equally likely to occur in both groups. An odds ratio greater than 1 indicates that the condition or event is more likely to occur in the rst group and an odds ratio less than 1 indicates that the condition or event is less likely to occur in the first group.
  • outcome reporting bias - the selective reporting of some outcomes but not others. Outcomes with favourable ndings may be reported more. For example, adverse events have been found to be reported more often in unpublished studies. This may result in more favourable results for published studies.
  • prevalence - actual number of cases alive, with the disease either during a period of time (period) or at a particular date in time (point), reported as the number of cases as a fraction of the total population at risk. This can also be further categorized by different subsets of the population; gender, racial origin, age group or by diagnostic category.
  • prospective study - A statistical study in which people are entered into the research and then followed up over a period of time with future events recorded as they happen. This contrasts with studies that are retrospective.
  • randomised controlled trial - a study in which participants are allocated at random to receive one of several clinical interventions. One of these interventions is the standard of comparison or control. The control may be a standard practice, a placebo or no intervention at all.
  • relative risk - the ratio of the risk (rate) of an outcome in an exposed group (eg to a specific medicine) to the risk (rate) of the outcome in an unexposed group in a specifed time period
  • retrospective study - A statistical study of the present and past and does not involve studying future events.
  • sensitivity - the proportion of people with the condition who have a positive test result.
(Some terms based upon Glossary in NICE Guidelines, No. 13 Bookshelf).

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 22) Embryology Embryology Statistics. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Embryology_Statistics

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G