Safe Water, Household Sanitation, and Child Mortality in India

Michel Guillot, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Sudip Gupta, University of Wisconsin at Madison

This paper examines correlates of child mortality in India, a country where child mortality rates have been stagnating at relatively high levels since the 1990s. This study focuses on the impact of safe water and household sanitation on child mortality, an impact that is still largely debated in the literature. The analysis is based on data from the 1998-99 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-II). Results indicate that the effect of water access on child mortality disappears after controlling for the socio-economic characteristics of the household. The type of sanitation facility, however, remains an important correlate of child mortality for most Indian states. In a context where 64% of the population has no sanitation facility, this study identifies a potentially important barrier to low child mortality.

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Presented in Session 103: Contextual Effects on Health and Mortality in India