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A re-examination of the effect of socioeconomic status on childhood survival in Malawi, 1987-2004

Henry V. Doctor
  • Henry V. Doctor
    Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Population and Family Health, New York, NY, United States |


Studies worldwide have established a close link between higher socioeconomic status (SES) and demographic outcomes such as lower infant and child survival. This relationship has often been studied by utilizing information on ownership of household assets. Recently, we examined the effect of a proxy for SES on child survival in Malawi using the 1987 and 1998 census data. Results showed that in 1987 there was an increase in mortality for children belonging to poor households; in 1998 results were reversed: child mortality was higher among rich households and also among middle-aged women. Parallel analysis of the 1992 and 2000 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data showed similar results. We replicate our earlier analyses and assess whether the results persist in the 2004 DHS. Results show that child mortality is higher in richer households but at lower levels than those observed earlier owing to modest improvement in the living standards of people.


Africa, child mortality, health, Malawi.

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Submitted: 2011-10-04 19:08:04
Published: 2012-03-07 13:55:53
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