This paper uses data from the three Indian National Family Health Surveys (1992-93, 1998-99, 2005-06) to examine how the relationship between household wealth and child mortality evolved during a time of significant economic change in India. The main predictor is a new measure of household wealth that captures changes in wealth over time. Outcomes include neonatal mortality, postneonatal mortality, child mortality, and under-five mortality. Multivariate analysis is conducted at the national, urban, rural, and regional levels.
Results indicate that the overall relationship between household wealth and mortality weakened over time, as evidenced by the coefficients for under-five mortality at the national level. However, this result is dominated by the relationship between household wealth and neonatal mortality (deaths at ages 0-30 days). Examining mortality exclusively at older ages (deaths between the ages of 1-4 years) for urban and rural areas separately reveals a different pattern. The relationship between household wealth and child mortality actually became stronger in rural areas suggesting that in these areas, the burden of ensuring child survival is increasingly being borne by households, possibly due to a weakening of complementary public inputs into child health.