Ethnic-Religious Differences in Child Survival in Egypt
Ameed Saabneh, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Ethnic and religious inequalities in child survival have been documented in many countries. In Egypt, during the 1980s and 1990s, Christians had higher childhood mortality than Muslims despite their higher socioeconomic status and concentration in urban areas. This paper explores reasons for this Christian-Muslim mortality gap. Data is drawn from Egypt's 1988, 1992, 1995, 2005 and 2008 DHS surveys, which recorded the respondents’ religious affiliation. The main analysis compares children of Christian and Muslim mothers in survival to age five using Cox regression models. Results indicate that differences in the regional distributions of Christians and Muslims positively contributed to the mortality gap during the 1980-90s. The majority of Christians resided in Upper Egypt where childhood mortality rates were considerably higher than in other regions. However, only part of higher Christian mortality can be explained by their regional concentration. In Upper Egypt, despite their higher socioeconomic status, Christians had higher mortality relative to the Muslim population.