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The Pervasive and Persistent Influence of Caste on Child Mortality in India
Authors: Premchand Dommaraju, Victor Agadjanian, Scott Yabiku
Source: Population Research and Policy Review, Volume 27, Number 4 / August, 2008 (477-495)
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Inequality
Maternal health
Country: Asia
  India
Published: AUG 2008
Abstract: This study examines the effect of caste on child mortality and maternal health care utilization in rural India using data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) carried out during 1998-1999. Results from multilevel discrete time hazard models indicate that, net of individual-level and community-level controls, children belonging to low castes have higher risks of death and women belonging to low castes have lower rates of antenatal and delivery care utilization than children and women belonging to upper castes. At the same time, the controls account for most of the differences within the low castes. Further analysis shows that the mortality disadvantage of low castes is more pronounced in poorer districts. These results highlight the need to target low caste members in the provision of maternal and child health services.