This article examines the determinants of fertility, child mortality, and gender bias in child survival in India using district-level data from the 1981 census. A common set of explanatory variables is used, including male and female literacy, the level of poverty, female labor force participation, urbanization, health care facilities, and other socioeconomic variables. The analysis demonstrates the powerful demographic influence of variables that relate directly to women's agency, notably female literacy and labor force participation. The former, in particular, significantly reduces child mortality, fertility levels, and the female disadvantage in child survival. The latter has no statistically significant effect on the level of child mortality, but reduces gender bias in child survival as well as fertility levels. Variables reflecting the general level of development and modernization have a negative but comparatively weak impact on mortality and fertility levels, and, if anything, amplify rather than reduce the gender bias in child survival. In particular, the female disadvantage in child survival is significantly lower in districts with higher poverty levels."
|Last updated April 23, 2001||
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