Ethnic-religious differences in child survival in Egypt

Ameed Saabneh, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Ethnic and religious differentials in infant and child mortality are observed in many countries. In Egypt during 1980s and 1990s, Christians have higher child mortality than Muslims despite their advantage in socioeconomic status. This paper explores reasons for the Christians-Muslim mortality gap. The comparison in child survival uses propensity score matching and survival analysis. Results indicate that differences in the regional distributions of Christians and Muslims positively contributed to the mortality gap during the 1980-90s. About 70% of Christians resided in Upper Egypt where childhood mortality rates were twice as high than in other regions. However, only part of excess Christian mortality can be explained by their higher concentration in Upper Egypt. The Christian mortality disadvantage--both nationally and in Upper Egypt--prevails irrespective of this group's socioeconomic advantage. These findings are at odds with research demonstrating the significance of socioeconomic status and urban concentration to ethnic-religious mortality gaps.

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Presented in Session 23: Mortality in subpopulations