Send to

Choose Destination
Popul Bull UN. 1992;(33):1-31.

Fertility patterns and child survival: a comparative analysis.



The data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) for 18 countries spanning the 1970s and the 1980s were utilized for straightforward tabular analysis. Results were also contrasted with those from World Fertility Surveys (WFS) covering the 1960s and part of the 1970s. Further analysis in 10 categories of family formation was carried out. Life-tables were calculated covering the mortality experience over 15 complete years plus the year of the DHS survey concerning the survival chances of about 193,000 children and some 23,000 deaths. The overall chances of survival to age 5 for children born to women aged 20-34 was used as the reference category. The average excess mortality risks for children born to mothers aged under 18 was 51% across all 18 DHS countries, and a 14% average excess was associated with the mother being an older teenager. For teenage mothers under 18 only 4 countries fell outside the range of 125-167 excess risk. The average relative risk of child death, compared with an interval of 24-47 months, was about double for very short intervals of 1-17 months, where prematurity was a possible factor of the excess risk. There was around a 30% excess risk for intervals of 18-23 months. Early fertility (especially under age 18) and short birth intervals were strongly associated with the chances of child survival 10 years on using DHS data as they were shown in earlier WFS studies. Poor timing of birth impacted child survival substantially in many countries but has been improving over time, probably because of increased use of family planning, as in Colombia and Morocco. On the other hand, child mortality in Senegal might have improved by 50% over the 8-year observation period, if child-spacing had not deteriorated during that period. It is possible that mortality gains in several sub-Saharan African countries are slowed down by worsening family-formation patterns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center