Pauses and Reversals of Infant Mortality Decline in India in 2017 and 2018

14 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2021

See all articles by Jean Drèze

Jean Drèze

University of Delhi - Delhi School of Economics

Aashish Gupta

University of Pennsylvania

Sai Ankit Parashar

Tata Institute of Social Sciences - Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Kanika Sharma

Emory University

Date Written: November 8, 2020

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Drèze, Jean and Gupta, Aashish and Parashar, Sai Ankit and Sharma, Kanika, Pauses and Reversals of Infant Mortality Decline in India in 2017 and 2018 (November 8, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3727001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3727001

Jean Drèze

University of Delhi - Delhi School of Economics ( email )

G.T. Road,
Shahdara
Delhi-110007, Delhi 110032
India

Aashish Gupta (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Sai Ankit Parashar

Tata Institute of Social Sciences - Tata Institute of Social Sciences ( email )

K.B. Sainik School Premises, Brahmannapalli Road
Abdullapurmet Mandal, Turkayamjal, Hyderabad
Hyderabad, Telangana 501510
India

Kanika Sharma

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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