Spatial assessment of the gender bias in child mortality at the district level in India, 1991-2011

Akansha Singh, Durham University
Bruno Masquelier, Louvain University (UCL)

As observed with many indicators, there is substantial spatial variation in gender bias in child mortality in India, reflecting the varying extent of daughter-neglect across subnational areas. With this context, this study aims to examine the role of key demographic and socioeconomic factors explaining district-level variation in the index of female disadvantage in under-five mortality, using district-level census data and geographically weighted regression (GWR) models for 1991 and 2011. Our study shows that the extent of female disadvantage has greatly reduced in India between the 1991 and 2011 census, with the number of districts with an index larger than 0.15% declining from 347 to 239 districts over the period. Despite this, the pockets of districts with atypically significant high values of female disadvantage were broadly the same in 1991 and 2011. Factors such as higher fertility, higher gender inequality, and poor economic condition have emerged as the significant local predictors of the index of female disadvantage in the districts from these regions. Findings from this study suggest that tackling gender inequality in child mortality in a regionally diverse country like India requires designing context-specific interventions.

Keywords: Spatial analysis/regression, Small area estimation, Mortality, Gender

See paper.

  Presented in Session 199. Augmenting Census and Other Data to Better Understand Spatial Population Distributions