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The educational status of parents, and infant and child mortality in rural North India

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  • Education


PII: 0165-2281(82)90016-9 Health Policy and Education, 2 (1982) 349-361 Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam - Printed in The Netherlands 349 THE EDUCATIONAL STATUS OF PARENTS, AND INFANT AND CHILD MORTALITY IN RURAL NORTH INDIA GEORGE B. SIMMONS and STAN BERNSTEIN Center for Population Planning and Department for Health Planning and Administration, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, U.S.A. Mortality among the very young is widely recognized as an important indicator of social well-being. Infant and child mortality is otten lower among families with more educated parents, but the mechanisms under- lying this relationship are poorly understood. The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which education can be considered a determinant of infant and child mortality in the context of a very poor community with very high mortality. In this community the prevailing levels of education are low, but infants and children in those families with relatively more education experience lower levels of mortality. These same families, in addition to their educational qualifications, share a number of other charac- teristics. Thus, the task of this paper is to disentangle the various forces which influence the probability of death for children and, where possible, to identify the independent role of education. This paper is one of a series of explorations of the mortality and fertility experiences of a sample of couples from North India. This particular paper grows out of an increasing awareness that education may play a more im- portant and certainly a more complex role in determining mortality than we realized when we initiated our earlier research on mortality in this region. Given the relatively low level of education in the region, we did not see strong theoretical or empirical reasons for expecting education to play a central role in determining neonatal mortality. In our work on the post- neonatal period we used education as a meas

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