Excess Female Infant Mortality and Gender Gap in Childhood Investment in Bihar, India

Sanjukta Chaudhuri, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire

This paper analyzed excess female infant mortality by age one and gender gap in childhood investment in the east-central state of Bihar, India. The female child in Bihar lies at the intersection of a web of disadvantages woven by an agrarian mode of production, an exploitative feudal system, oppressive caste system, and patriarchy. The National Family Health Surveys were used to compare female infant mortality in Bihar with thirteen major states. Females in Bihar face significant odds of excess infant mortality compared to less biased states in eastern, western, and southern regions, but do not face excess mortality compared to more biased states in northern and central regions. An estimated 23% female infant deaths in Bihar are excess. An examination of childhood investments demonstrated that gender gap in BCG vaccination is the single most important driver of excess female infant mortality, followed by DPT and measles vaccination, and illness treatment.

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Presented in Poster Session 2