Pauses and Reversals of Infant Mortality Decline in India in 2017 and 2018
14 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2021
Date Written: November 8, 2020
This note examines recent trends in infant mortality in India, based on summary reports from the Sample Registration System (SRS). We find evidence of slowdown, pauses, and reversals in infant mortality decline in large parts of India in 2017 and 2018, the last two years for which SRS data are available. In urban areas, the infant mortality rate stagnated at 23 deaths per 1,000 births between 2016 and 2018. Worse, overall infant mortality increased in the poorer states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh in this period. This occurred despite sustained improvements in household access to sanitation and clean fuel. One possible interpretation of these findings is that, in addition to their impact on unemployment and poverty, the demonetization experiment in late 2016 and the subsequent economic slowdown had an adverse effect on child health. In any case, these trends reinforce earlier evidence of faltering human development in India in recent years.
Keywords: Infant Mortality, Health, Human Development, Demonetization, India
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