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MPIDR Working Paper

Trends in geographical mortality differentials in India

Saikia, N., Jasilionis, D., Ram, F., Shkolnikov, V. M.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2009-013, 29 pages (May 2009).
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Revised January 2010

Keywords: India, differential mortality, mortality

Abstract

This study examines the variation in mortality and mortality trends among different regions in India since the 1970s using data from the Sample Registration System (SRS). Evaluation of the SRS data quality confirms reliability for children and adults under the age of 60 years. Analysis of temporary life expectancy between the exact ages of 0 and 60 years shows that, after significant progress during the 1970s and 1980s, improvements in longevity slowed down in the 1990s and 2000s. The Gini coefficient and dispersion measure of mortality confirm the convergence of mortality across the regions in India between 1971–1975 and 2000–2004. In spite of this trend, a substantial difference between higher longevity in the south and lower longevity in the north was noteworthy in 2001–2004. Age decomposition of temporary life expectancy by age group 0–14 years and 15–59 years suggests that the steep longevity increase in the 1970s and 1980s was largely driven by a reduction in mortality in children under the age of 15 years. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the contribution of both young and adult age groups to longevity increase has diminished. India faces difficulties in making progress in further reductions of infant deaths to the minimum levels and also in fighting chronic and man-made diseases in individuals within older age groups.

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