A Spatial Analysis of Childhood Mortality in West Africa

Deborah Balk, Columbia University
Thomas W. Pullum, University of Texas at Austin
Adam Storeygard, Columbia University
Fern Greenwell, ORC Macro
Melissa Neuman, Columbia University

It is suggested that environmental or geographic factors--e.g., population density, climate, and disease environment-- play an important role in determining infant and child survival above and beyond that played by individual and household level factors. Only recently, however, have relevant spatial data become available and have demographic survey data systematically recorded geographical location of surveyed households and has the technology to integrate these data become accessible. This study estimates the risk of infant and child death in 10 West African countries attributable to individual, household and spatially explicit geographic factors; 120,000 births occurring in the 10 years prior to 1997-2001 Demographic and Health Survey dates are evaluated. Results from a generalized linear model show that spatial variables explain away a good deal of the country-specific variation in mortality and that they are associated with (and may be mediated by) the household characteristics. Implications for research and policy will be addressed.

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Presented in Session 94: Population, Development, and the Urban Environment