Original Paper

Journal of Community Health

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 120-130

First online:

Early Neonatal Mortality in India, 1990–2006

  • Chandan KumarAffiliated withDepartment of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee Email author 
  • , Prashant Kumar SinghAffiliated withInternational Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
  • , Rajesh Kumar RaiAffiliated withTata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
  • , Lucky SinghAffiliated withInternational Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

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The increased reach of health programs in India during the past few decades has contributed to a decline in postnatal mortality including infant and child mortality; however, reduction in neonatal mortality remained negligible. About seven out of ten neonatal deaths take place within a week after birth. The progress in reduction as well as dimension along which early neonatal mortality is patterned in India remains unclear. We examine the trend in early neonatal mortality and its possible demographic and socioeconomic predictors using nationally representative data. Data from the three cross-sectional rounds of the National Family Health Survey of India from 1992 to 1993, 1998 to 1999 and 2005 to 2006 were analyzed. Early neonatal mortality rate was estimated for selected demographic and socioeconomic population groups and for major states in India using information on births and deaths during the 3 years preceding the respective surveys. Using the multivariate logistic regression model, we assessed proximate determinants of early neonatal deaths during 1990–2006. Sex of the child, child’s birth size, birth order and interval, type of child’s birth, mother’s age at child’s birth, mother’s educational status, religion, household economic status and region of residence emerged as significant predictors of early neonatal deaths. The adjusted multivariate analysis indicates that majority of the socio-demographic predictors reveal a negligible decline in the probability of early neonatal deaths during 1990–2006. Moreover, based on comprehensive reviews of scientific literature on newborn’s survival we document some of the recommended ways to prevent early neonatal mortality in India.


Early neonatal mortality Sample Registration System National Family Health Survey India