Socioeconomic Inequality in Malnutrition in India, 1992-2005

Praveen Kumar Pathak, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

This paper examines the trends and patterns of socioeconomic inequality in child malnutrition by wealth status of population across major regions and states of India. The data from three rounds of National Family and Health Survey conducted during 1992-2005, were analysed. Underweight children (measure of both acute and chronic malnutrition) are the dependent variable. The wealth index was estimated by principal component analysis using a set of household assets and living conditions variables for all three rounds. Bivariate analyses, rich-poor ratio and concentration index were used to understand the trends in socioeconomic inequality in childhood malnutrition. The preliminary result indicates disproportionately higher concentration of malnutrition among the poor over the years. In fact the rich-poor ratio (1.8 to 2.9) and concentration index (-0.10 to -0.16) have shown an increasing trend during 1992-2005. In addition, average decline in underweight has concealed larger socioeconomic inequality across space and time.

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Presented in Session 19: Social Contexts and Child Health