Seminars

The CPC Seminar Series takes place between October and June, all seminars are free to attend and no registration is required. If you would like to present please contact cpc@soton.ac.uk.

Maternal age and under-five mortality in developing countries: secular trends in development outweigh the risks associated with reproductive ageing

12th November 2015 3pm, University of Southampton, Building 58, Room 1003

Kieron Barclay, London School of Economics

Using data on over 7 million births from 77 developing countries from 228 Demographic and Health Surveys conducted over the past 30 years, we find that secular declines in under-five mortality completely outweigh the risks associated with reproductive ageing. Using fully adjusted sibling-comparison models that minimize residual confounding, we find that the net effect of maternal age at the time of birth on under-five mortality is U-shaped, with the offspring of the youngest and oldest mothers at the greater risk of mortality. However, these estimates ignore secular trends in social and economic development. Development has led to sharp declines in the rates of under-five mortality. From the perspective of any individual mother, delayed childbearing means giving birth in a later year when under-five mortality rates are lower. We find that secular declines in under-five mortality completely outweigh the risks associated with reproductive ageing, and even mothers childbearing at age 40 or older have a much lower risk of losing their child than they did giving birth in their twenties.

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