The Effect of Compositional Changes on Infant Mortality Decline in Brazil

Pedro Schettini, Cedeplar, UFMG
Cassio M. Turra, Cedeplar, UFMG
Simone Wajnman, Cedeplar, UFMG

Infant mortality in Brazil has experienced a significant decline, varying from 156 deaths per thousand in 1970 to 20 in 2010. We examine the extent to which changes in the distribution of births by mother's age and education explain this remarkable decline. Our results suggest the role of major changes in the education profile of mothers to IMR improvements in Brazil. The rate in 1970 would have been 39% lower if the distribution of births were similar to the one in 2010. During this period, about a quarter of lives saved (more than 2MM children) were due to more favorable distribution patterns. Our results also revealed that the substantial decline in the IMR happened mainly because of significantly lower mortality risks across population subgroups. Out of the total lives saved, three quarters were due to improvements in mortality levels, regardless of changes in the distribution of births by socioeconomic status.

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