Urban Poverty and Health Inequality in India

Laura B. Nolan, Princeton University
Priya Balasubramaniam, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
Arundati Muralidharan, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)

Over 30 percent of Indians live in urban areas. By 2030, this proportion is projected to grow to 40 percent, or about 590 million people – more than twice the current US population. While on average urban residents’ health is better than rural residents’, averages mask significant heterogeneity in health indicators within urban areas. We explore inequalities in urban child morbidity and mortality using the third wave of India’s National Family and Health Survey (2005-2006), comparing poor, non-poor, slum- and non-slum dwelling urban residents, and rural residents. Descriptive statistics and bivariate regression reveal significant intra-urban disparities in child health in urban India. While urban poor and slum-dwelling children have significantly worse health than their urban non-poor and non-slum dwelling counterparts, urban poor children, but not those living in slums, are also more likely to be stunted than their rural counterparts. Addressing urban health disparities in developing countries must be prioritized.

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Presented in Session 17: Social Disparities in Health and Mortality in Developing Countries