Social Gradients in Adult Mortality in India: Application of Orphanhood Method in India Human Development Surveys

Nandita Saikia, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Marc Luy, Vienna Institute of Demography

Background: Due to paucity of data, no previous study has documented adult mortality gradients in India by education, caste and religion in India.

Objective: To examine the adult mortality differential by education, caste, religion, educational attainment of children of the deceased in India.

Data and Methods: We used Orphanhood method developed by Timæus on parent’s survival data in India Human Development Survey 2011-2012.

Results: A consistency analysis of Orphanhood estimates of 45q15 with official statistics confirms the robustness of Orphanhood estimates in India. Information obtained from adults of aged 20-24 & 25-30 provided the most appropriate patterns of adult mortality in India. During adulthood, men experience higher mortality rate than women in India. Mortality rate among illiterate adults is almost two times higher that literate people; adults belong to deprived castes such as Scheduled castes and tribes experience substantially higher mortality rate than adults belonging to the rest of the castes. A clear downward gradient in adult mortality is visible as education attainment of children increases.

Conclusion: Adult mortality burden disproportionately falls to illiterate, deprived castes and non-Hindu population in India. In absence of mortality statistics for various social groups in India, large scale surveys should continue collecting information for application of indirect techniques for mortality estimation in India.

Contribution: This is the first study documenting adult mortality gradients by education, religion and caste in India.

Presented in Session 1214: Environment, Development, and Space