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Deadly Cities? Spatial Inequalities in Mortality in sub-Saharan Africa
Authors: Isabel Günther, Kenneth Harttgen
Source: Population and Development Review, Volume 38, Issue 3, pages 469–486; DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2012.00512.x
Topic(s): Inequality
Rural-urban differentials
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: SEP 2012
Abstract: We investigate whether sub-Saharan African countries are affected by an “urban mortality penalty” repeating the history of industrialized countries during the nineteenth century. We analyze Demographic and Health Surveys from several sub-Saharan African countries for differences in child and adult mortality between rural and urban areas. For the first decade of the 2000s, our findings indicate that child mortality is higher in rural than in urban areas for all countries. On average, child mortality rates are 13.6 percent in rural areas and 10.8 percent in urban areas. In contrast, average urban adult mortality rates (14.1 percent) have exceeded rural adult mortality rates (12.4 percent). Child mortality rates are on average 65 percent higher in urban slums than in formal settlements. Child mortality rates in slum areas are, however, still lower than or equal to those in rural areas for most countries in our sample.