Which Factors Explain the Decline in Infant and Child Mortality in Matlab, Bangladesh?

Published in: Journal of population research, v. 26, no. 1, Mar. 2009, p. [3]-20

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by Lauren Hale, Julie DaVanzo, Abdur Razzaque, Omar Rahman

Infant and child mortality rates have decreased substantially in Matlab, Bangladesh, as they have in many developing areas. The authors use data from the Matlab Demographic Surveillance System on nearly 94,000 singleton live births that occurred between 1987 and 2002 to investigate the extent to which the change in mortality over this period can be explained by changes in reproductive patterns and socio-economic characteristics. The authors estimate Cox proportional hazards models for four subperiods of infancy and childhood. Changes over time in reproductive patterns (maternal age, parity, and pregnancy spacing) and in the socio-economic characteristics we consider (e.g. maternal education, SES) explain between 10 and 40% of the decline in mortality rates. Changes in maternal education explain the largest portion of the reduction in infant and child mortality over time that we are able to explain, followed by reductions in the incidence of short interpregnancy intervals. In the other direction, decreases in fertility over time led to increases in the proportion of births that were first births, putting upward pressure on mortality.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.