Socio economic inequalities in infant mortality in Latin America: the impact of income, education and social class
Andres Palacio, Lund University
Data from DHS in 4 Latin American countries are used to test the impact of income, education and social class on the SES gradient in infant mortality over time. Bolivia, Dominican Republic and Peru belong to a cluster of late beginners of the modern demographic regime, which have caught up with Colombia, initially the closest to the more modern Latin American countries such as Chile, Costa Rica or Uruguay. Using a pooled sample of 171.311 children born between 1981 and 2010, the findings confirm that the relationship between SES and infant mortality is similar enough to think that the SES gradient is flattening out across countries, contravening recent studies claiming the opposite. Likewise, preventive measures (contraceptive use) and nutrition (exclusive breastfeeding) mediate the relationship between SES and infant mortality across countries, but as independent factors. Hence unless we understand better how nutrition relates to SES, and changes in expansion of health insurance are accompanied with changes in the educational policy, namely preventive measures, infant mortality in these countries will not converge to developed-country standards in the near future.
Presented in Session 87: Mortality in developing countries