Women's Experience of Child Death over the Life Course: A Global Demographic Perspective

Diego Alburez-Gutierrez
Emilio Zagheni, Max Planck Institute for demographic Research
Martin Kolk, Stockholm University

Recent population change has seen increases in life expectancy, reductions in family size, and postponement of fertility to older ages. We analyze the effect of these dynamics on the experience of child death over the life course for the 1950-1999 annual birth cohorts of women around the world. The paper draws on age-specific fertility and mortality rates (estimates and projections) to assess trends in the frequency and timing of child death using formal demographic methods. We show a considerable reduction in the frequency of child death over women's life course over time accompanied by a marked increase in the incidence of adult child deaths. We find persisting regional inequalities in women's exposure to child death. These are troubling in a rapidly aging population, where the loss of social support from children has profound implications for the health and well-being of aging parents. This may be particularly so for low-income settings lacking institutional support for the old.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality