Nearly 4,00,000 babies were born around the world on New Year's Day with India recording the highest number of these births worldwide at 67,385, the UN children's agency said.
An estimated 3,92,078 babies were born around the world on New Year's Day, according to UNICEF. Of this, an estimated 67,385 babies were born in India, the most globally. China came in second with 46,299 births.
“The beginning of a new year and a new decade is an opportunity to reflect on our hopes and aspirations not only for our future, but the future of those who will come after us,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.
“As the calendar flips each January, we are reminded of all the possibility and potential of each child embarking on her or his life's journey—if they are just given that chance.”
Fiji in the Pacific most likely delivered 2020's first baby, while the US, the last of the New Year's Day.
Globally, over half of these births were estimated to have taken place in eight countries -- India (67,385), China (46,299), Nigeria (26,039), Pakistan (16,787), Indonesia (13,020), United States of America (10,452), Democratic Republic of Congo (10,247) and Ethiopia (8,493).
Each January, UNICEF celebrates babies born on New Year's Day, an auspicious day for child birth around the world, it said. However, for millions of newborns around the world, the day of their birth is far less auspicious.
In 2018, 2.5 million newborns died in just their first month of life; about a third of them on the first day of life. Among those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis. In addition, more than 2.5 million babies are born dead each year.
UNICEF said over the past three decades, the world has seen remarkable progress in child survival, 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 accounted for 47 per cent of all deaths among children under five in 2018, up from 40 per cent in 1990.
UNICEF's Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment in health workers with the right training, who are equipped with the right medicines to ensure every mother and newborn is cared for by a safe pair of hands to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth.
“Too many mothers and newborns are not being cared for by a trained and equipped midwife or nurse, and the results are devastating,” said Fore. “We can ensure that millions of babies survive their first day and live into this decade and beyond if every one of them is born into a safe pair of hands.”
India is projected to surpass China as the world's most populous country around 2027. According to UN estimates, India is expected to add nearly 273 million people between 2019 and 2050, while the population of Nigeria is projected to grow by 200 million. Together, these two countries could account for 23 per cent of the global population increase to 2050.
China, with 1.43 billion people in 2019, and India, with 1.37 billion, have long been the two most populous countries of the world, comprising 19 and 18 per cent, respectively, of the global total in 2019. Through the end of the century, India is estimated to remain the world's most populous country with nearly 1.5 billion inhabitants, followed by China with just under 1.1 billion, Nigeria with 733 million, the US with 434 million, and Pakistan with 403 million inhabitants.