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Sibship size and mortality in Africa: Evidence from the DHS

Andrew Noymer, University of California, Irvine
Ndola Prata, University of California, Berkeley

We use data from all African Demographic and Health Surveys to (re-)examine the relationship between sibship size and mortality of children. Survey data on respondents' siblings survival are widely available. Demographers typically use such data to construct indirect estimates of life table measures. By themselves, these data suffer from the well-known problem that extinct sibships are not surveyed (e.g. where there are 3 siblings, all dead, none will be included in the sample). However, this shortcoming applies equally to all countries, so patterns by sibship size may be compared for various countries. Looking at sibship size and mortality has a substantive advantage over indirect techniques because information on sibship is preserved rather than averaged-out. Our early results show some unexpected findings, for instance in Cote d'Ivoire in the 1994 DHS, mortality ncreases monotonically with sibship size rather than having a mode at the middle of the family size distribution.

Presented in Session 92: Determinants of Adult Mortality in Africa