Caste Differentials in Child Mortality in India

PremChand Dommaraju, Arizona State University

Unlike previous studies on caste differentials in child (under-five) mortality in India, this study analyzes these differentials at both the individual and community level. This study uses data from the 1998-1999 India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) and employs hazard models for analysis. We examine the effect of caste membership on probability of child death adjusting for socioeconomic background characteristics. At the community level, we look at the effect that the proportion of lower caste members in the community may have on the probability of child death among both the lower and non -lower castes. Preliminary results show that membership in a lower caste significantly increases the likelihood of child death, controlling for other factors. The effects of the proportion of scheduled castes in the community are also strong but are not as straightforward. The paper discusses the findings in light of the macro-political dynamics of the caste system.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Applied Demography, Methods, Health and Mortality