Journal of Population Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 3–20

Which factors explain the decline in infant and child mortality in Matlab, Bangladesh?

  • Lauren Hale
  • Julie DaVanzo
  • Abdur Razzaque
  • Mizanur Rahman

DOI: 10.1007/s12546-008-9003-0

Cite this article as:
Hale, L., DaVanzo, J., Razzaque, A. et al. J Pop Research (2009) 26: 3. doi:10.1007/s12546-008-9003-0


Infant and child mortality rates have decreased substantially in Matlab, Bangladesh, as they have in many developing areas. We 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. We 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.


Infant and child mortalityBirth spacingPregnancy spacingBirth intervalsPregnancy intervalsReproductive patternsMaternal educationMatlabBangladeshFamily planning

Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren Hale
    • 1
  • Julie DaVanzo
    • 2
  • Abdur Razzaque
    • 3
  • Mizanur Rahman
    • 4
  1. 1.State University of New YorkStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  3. 3.Center for Health and Population Research, ICDDR,BDhakaBangladesh
  4. 4.Pathfinder InternationalWatertownUSA