Trends in Inequalities in Under-Five Mortality: Evidence from São Paulo, Brazil, 1970-1991

Narayan Sastry, RAND

In this paper I examine the effects of social and economic development on inequalities in under-five mortality for the state of São Paulo, Brazil, over a twenty-one year period during which much of the infant and child mortality transition unfolded. I investigate whether the improvements in infant and child survival were accompanied by declining inequalities. I focus on inequality in under-five mortality by household wealth and by mother’s education and use microdata from Brazilian censuses conducted in 1970, 1980, and 1991. I find that inequality according to household wealth underwent a clear decline over the study period. Inequality according to mother’s education first declined and then increased, with a net rise over the study period. When I control for background demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, inequalities in under-five mortality according to household wealth remained roughly constant. On the other hand, inequality according to mother’s education increased substantially.

Presented in Session 136: Demographic Processes in Brazil- Recent Trends and Interpretations. Sponsored Jointly by Brazilian Population Association