Maternal education and child survival: a comparative study of survey data from 17 countries

Soc Sci Med. 1993 May;36(9):1207-27. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(93)90241-u.


A uniform analytical methodology was applied to survey data from 17 developing countries with the aim of addressing a series of questions regarding the positive statistical association between maternal education and the health and survival of children under age two. As has been observed previously, the education advantage in survival was less pronounced during than after the neonatal period. Strong but varying education effects on postneonatal risk, undernutrition during the 3-23 month period, and non-use of health services were shown--although a large part of these associations are the result of education's strong link to household economics. Differential use of basic health services, though closely tied to a mother's educational level, does little to explain the education advantage in child health and survival. However, the issue of the actual quality of services measured in the DHS is raised. Other issues concerning the roles of the pattern of family formation and differential physical access to health services are explored and discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mothers*
  • Socioeconomic Factors