Income and child mortality in developing countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Bernadette Ann-Marie O'Hare, Innocent Makuta, Levison Chiwaula, Naor Bar-Zeev

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Abstract

Objective: We aimed to quantify the relationship between national income and infant and under-five mortality in developing countries. Design: We conducted a systematic literature search of studies that examined the relationship between income and child mortality (infant and/or under-five mortality) and meta-analysed their results. Setting: Developing countries. Main outcome measures: Child mortality (infant and /or under-five mortality). Results: The systematic literature search identified 24 studies, which produced 38 estimates that examined the impact of income on the mortality rates. Using meta-analysis, we produced pooled estimates of the relationship between income and mortality. The pooled estimate of the relationship between income and infant mortality before adjusting for covariates is −0.95 (95% CI −1.34 to −0.57) and that for under-five mortality is −0.45 (95% CI −0.79 to −0.11). After adjusting for covariates, pooled estimate of the relationship between income and infant mortality is −0.33 (−0.39 to −0.26) while the estimate for under-five mortality is −0.28 (−0.37 to −0.19). If a country has an infant mortality of 50 per 1000 live births and the gross domestic product per capita purchasing power parity increases by 10%, the infant mortality will decrease to 45 per 1000 live births.
Conclusion: Income is an important determinant of child survival and this work provides a pooled estimate for the relationship.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Volume106
Early online date3 Jul 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • National income
  • Infant mortality
  • Under-five mortality
  • Developing countries
  • Literature search

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