Bali Ram , Abhishek Singh , Awdhesh Yadav
Canadian Studies in Population , Vol 43, No 3–4 2016
Using data from two national surveys, this paper examines caste differences in infant mortality in India. We find that children from the three lower caste groups—Dalits (ex-untouchables), Adivasis (indigenous peoples), and Other Backward Classes—are significantly more likely than forward-caste children to die young. While this observation largely mirrors caste differences in socioeconomic conditions, low socioeconomic status is found to be only a partial explanation for higher infant mortality among lower castes. Higher mortality risks among backward-class children are almost entirely attributable to background characteristics. However, Dalit children are most vulnerable in the neonatal period even when all background characteristics are taken into account, whereas Adivasi children remain highly vulnerable in the post-neonatal period.