Estimates for how many humans have ever lived on earth vary, but they seem to hover around 100-110 billion or so.
If that is the case, has anyone determined how many have died young? By young I can mean under 6, under 12 or under 18 (all if possible). But historically, I guess I would mean dying before puberty. So before 12 as a guess.
I would assume the vast majority have died young, but don’t know what %.
This implies about 17 billion have been on earth from 1850-2011.
During that period infant mortality declined rapidly. But I would assume childhood mortality has been about 40-80% throughout history before the onset of public health and germ theory starting in the 1850s. If so, then roughly 50-70 billion of the people who have ever lived have been people who died before they hit puberty. Does anyone have better math to estimate this?
Infant Mortality in Burkina Faso in the 1950s was 307 per 1,000 live births, which is the highest I’ve seen recorded. I would guess that in the 1950s, Burkina Faso had virtually no modern health care and this was probably near the highest infant mortality rate you’d expect to find outside of warfare and the like.
Chad currently has an under-5 mortality rate is around 20%. Some Chadians have access to healthcare and there are plenty of semi-trained midwives, but health care is sparse and I’m guessing this is as close to as high as it goes. Then again, child mortality has dropped worldwide by a whopping 40% since 1990, and surely some of that has hit Chad.
The big question would be how much you could extrapolate from these conditions. A huge portion of child mortality is caused by malnutrition, which is going to be a much bigger problem in arid countries like Chad and Burkina than lusher places. Modern population pressures have pressed humans on to some very marginal land that would have simply been avoided in the past. I’m not sure what the malaria load is in these countries, but in malarial zones it is one of the major killers of children under five. Historically, a good chunk of humans lived outside of malarial zones, and while the history of malaria goes pretty far back, it probably hasn’t been there through all of human history. Upper respiratory infections were probably similar, but diarrheal diseases can be exacerbated by denser settlements, and hunter gatherers and the like may not experience it as much as villagers.
From googling I found that life expectancy in Burkina Faso in 1950 was about 32 years. I’ve heard some societies thousands of years ago having a life expectancy near this, but I’ve also heard quotes that the LE was 15-30 in many historic societies.
According to this the Aeta people had a life expectancy of 16.5, for them about 2/3 of kids failed to reach puberty age.
I wouldn’t know how to estimate the death rates in various parts of the world. The disease rates, malnutrition rates, etc. are going to be different all over the world.
My father’s family (kids born from 1904-1925, in midwestern United States, Minnesota) had 7 surviving kids and 3 that did not live thru their first year. So an infant mortality of 30%. And they all thought that was nothing remarkable – it was typical that most families had some children that didn’t survive.
So just a century ago, infant mortality was still fairly high even in the USA (if they were typical).