Does Religious Identity Matter for Child Health? Sex Differentials in Child Health among Hindus and Muslims in India
Abhijit Visaria, University of Pennsylvania
This paper examines if and to what extent do sex differentials in children’s immunization and nutritional status exist within and differ between children from Hindu and Muslim families in India, the two largest religious groups in India together constituting about 94% of the total population. The study uses data from the three rounds of the nationally-representative National Health and Family Surveys and employs multilevel modeling to estimate to what extent sex differentials in child health are associated with individual-level maternal characteristics such as employment, autonomy and healthcare utilization, and by contextual-level characteristics such as religious homogeneity of the community, economic status, and availability of health resources. The study will thus be able to assess if differences in India between Hindus and Muslims in child health sex differentials relate to these factors or to underlying differences between the two communities such as sex preference for male or female children.