Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Deaths in the Family

Borooah, Vani (2018): Deaths in the Family. Published in: Health and Well-Being in India No. Palgrave Macmillan (May 2018): pp. 183-222.

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The purpose of this chapter is to evaluate the relative strengths of economic and social status in determining deaths in households in India. The first part of the chapter focuses on the “age at death” using National Sample Survey data for 2004 and 2014. The purpose was to ask whether after controlling for non-community factors, the fact that Indians belonged to different social groups, encapsulating different degrees of social status, exercised a significant influence on their age at death? The existence of a social group effect would suggest that there was a “social gradient” to health outcomes in India. The second part of the chapter, using data from the Indian Human Development Survey of 2011, investigated the determinants of infant and child mortality. The overriding concern now is gender bias with girls more likely to die than boys before attaining their first (infant) and fifth (child) birthdays. As this study has shown, gender bias in infant and child mortality rates is, with singular exceptions, a feature of all the social groups. In conducting this investigation, the chapter addresses for India an issue which lies at the heart of social epidemiology: estimating the relative strengths of individual and social factors in determining mortality outcomes.

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