Diverging Destinies: Inequality Trends among Children in Sub-Saharan Africa (1971-2007)

Vongai Kandiwa, Cornell University

Asymmetric demographic transitions could raise inequality among African children. Since fertility declined faster among urban middle class women, and, transitions occurred during periods of economic decline, resource inequality among children could widen. These resource inequalities may lead to divergence in multiple outcomes, including child survival. This study estimates infant mortality and income inequality trends, investigates the contribution of demographic change to inequality, and determines contextual factors that condition mortality inequality. I use World Bank data and 72 DHS surveys from 35 countries to estimate and decompose standard inequality indices. Additionally, I estimate multilevel regression models that determine the role of contextual factors. I expect demographic transitions and economic reversals to have disequalizing influences but fosterage networks to buffer inequality. Results suggest that infant mortality inequality is rising and in all countries income predicts child survival. Contextual factors like levels of child fosterage could be an important buffer for mortality inequality.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 6