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Levels and trends of early childhood mortality in Kenya: New estimates based on the own children method

Collins Opiyo, University of Pennsylvania

Brass technique is widely used for estimating childhood mortality among Sub-Saharan African countries with limited and defective data. However, one fundamental assumption – of constant fertility – stands violated by the dramatic fertility declines recently witnessed in many of these countries, resulting in potentially biased estimates. This study provides new estimates of early childhood mortality using the own children method, based on Kenyan census data. The method uses the age distribution of surviving children, back-projecting them until the original number of children ever born is reproduced, and does not require any assumptions on the recent fertility patterns. The preliminary results underscore, inter alia, the method’s ability to provide robust sub-national or areal estimates. These can be plotted on GIS-based maps to identify “risky corridors” of survival. There is a great potential for overlaying the maps with other human development indicators as well, for purposes of planning and further research.

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Presented in Session 4: Emerging issues in the Demography of East Africa