Infant and child mortality in India in the last two decades: a geospatial analysis.
Studies examining the intricate interplay between poverty, female literacy, child malnutrition, and child mortality are rare in demographic literature. Given the recent focus on Millennium Development Goals 4 (child survival) and 5 (maternal health), we explored whether the geographic regions that were underprivileged in terms of wealth, female literacy, child nutrition, or safe delivery were also grappling with the elevated risk of child mortality; whether there were any spatial outliers; whether these relationships have undergone any significant change over historical time periods.The present paper attempted to investigate these critical questions using data from household surveys like NFHS 1992-1993, NFHS 1998-1999 and DLHS 2002-2004. For the first time, we employed geo-spatial techniques like Moran's-I, univariate LISA, bivariate LISA, spatial error regression, and spatiotemporal regression to address the research problem. For carrying out the geospatial analysis, we classified India into 76 natural regions based on the agro-climatic scheme proposed by Bhat and Zavier (1999) following the Census of India Study and all estimates were generated for each of the geographic regions.This study brings out the stark intra-state and inter-regional disparities in infant and under-five mortality in India over the past two decades. It further reveals, for the first time, that geographic regions that were underprivileged in child nutrition or wealth or female literacy were also likely to be disadvantaged in terms of infant and child survival irrespective of the state to which they belong. While the role of economic status in explaining child malnutrition and child survival has weakened, the effect of mother's education has actually become stronger over time.
Singh, A; Pathak, PK; Chauhan, RK; Pan, W
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