The Relationship between Birth Month and Child Health and Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa
Audrey Dorelien, University of Michigan
We use piecewise exponential hazard models to analyze the relationship between birth month and survival to age five, in 30 SSA countries using data from the DHSs. We also use logistic regression models to analyze the relationship between birth month and stunting. The birth month effects on child mortality and stunting are large and statistically significant. On average, the under-five mortality rate associated with the birth month with the highest cumulative hazard is 39% higher than for the birth month with the lowest cumulative hazard. The maximum difference in predicted probabilities of being stunted between two birth months is on average nine percentage points. The birth month effects are not due to social-demographic differences in fertility patterns; instead, the presence of a birth month effect for stunting suggests that prenatal factors may play a role.