The Pervasive and Persistent Influence of Caste on Child Mortality in India
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This study examines the effect of caste on child mortality and maternal health care utilization in rural India using data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) carried out during 1998–1999. Results from multilevel discrete-time hazard models indicate that, net of individual-level and community-level controls, children belonging to low castes have higher risks of death and women belonging to low castes have lower rates of antenatal and delivery care utilization than children and women belonging to upper castes. At the same time, the controls account for most of the differences within the low castes. Further analysis shows that the mortality disadvantage of low castes is more pronounced in poorer districts. These results highlight the need to target low caste members in the provision of maternal and child health services.
KeywordsCaste Mortality Health care utilization Community India
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