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What is the correct population percentage proportion to use when consider 0-5 years in developing countries?

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Anonymous 651

Nutrition trainee

Normal user

7 Jun 2011, 13:09

I am trying to decipher which population percentage should be used when referring to the under 5 yrs. In the emergency IFE Operational guidance, it states the expected population proportions for 0-60 months (5years) is 12.5%. However it is accepted in practice to use 20% as the estimated population percentage in the field. Is this because 20% is applied within a programme context rather than a country specific one?

Thank you

Marie McGrath


Forum moderator

7 Jun 2011, 16:22

Dear Anon,
You have actually spotted a typo in the Operational Guidance on IFE. The foonote should read 24 months - <60 months: 12.5% and not 0-<60 months as it currently states. This gives a total of 17.6% for children U5s, that you could round to 18% (used by WHO).

So the corrected version should read:

'As a guide, in a developing country population with a high birth rate, the
expected proportions are: infants 0-6 months:1.35%; 6-<12 months:1.25%;
children 12-<24 months: 2.5%; children 24-< 60 months (5 years): 12.5%;
pregnant and lactating women: 5-7% depending on the average duration of
breastfeeding. N.B. These figures are approximations and will depend on birth
rate and infant mortality rate.'

Well spotted. We'll get the Operational Guidance corrected.

Anonymous 557

Normal user

7 Jun 2011, 16:41

Hi, Thanks for this update Marie but I want to query where you get the 18% from - you mention WHO but in the WHO Food and Nutrition Needs in Emergencies it say 0-<5 is 12.37%. Also, there is confusion in the new Sphere with 0-6m at 1.32% of the pop, 7-11 months at 0.95%, 1-3 years ta 6.58% and 4-6 years at 6.41% - with reference on UN (2003) World Population Prospects. The 2002 Revision..... Unfortunately there isn't a breakdown detailing 0-<5 years in this as far as I can see, which is a shame as this is what many of us need for planning purposes.
Any thoughts anyone?

Mark Myatt

Consultant Epideomiologist

Frequent user

7 Jun 2011, 17:32

The proportion of the population aged below five years will vary from place to place. In developing countries with a high birth rate this is usually about 18%. For sample size calculations we usually round up to 20% (this is to give a bigger sample size if a finite population correction is applied). The proportion aged below five years is usually reported in census reports.

Marie McGrath


Forum moderator

8 Jun 2011, 09:14

Dear Anon,
Just to add the WHO reference for 18% 0-<5 years:
Annex 2.

Doc SZ

Medical Officer

Normal user

4 Aug 2016, 06:24

What about population percentage proportion in developing countries? is it different from developed countries?

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