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Determinants of infant mortality in Turkey

Seçkin, Nutiye
Infant mortality rate is used as an indicator of a nation’s economic welfare. Despite the tremendous reduction since 1900s infant mortality rate is still high for developing countries. Infant mortality is reduced from 67 to 21 per 1000 live births in 17 years from 1990 to 2007 in Turkey. However, IMR in Turkey is still much higher than the rates in developing countries which is reported as 5 in 2007. In this thesis, I examine regional, household and individual level characteristics that are associated with infant mortality. For this purpose survival analysis is used in this analysis. The data come from 2003-2004 Turkey Demographic and Health Survey that includes detailed information of 8,075 ever married women between the ages 15-49. 7,360 mothers of these women gave birth to 22,443 children. The results of the logistic regression show that intervals between the births of the infants are associated with infant mortality at lower levels of wealth index. Children from poorer families with preceding birth interval shorter than 14 months or children whose mothers experience a subsequent birth fare badly. Breastfeeding is important for the survival chance of the infants under the age 3 months. Place of delivery and source of water the family uses are also found to be correlated with infant mortality risk. Curvilinear relation between maternal age at birth and infant mortality risk is observed, indicating higher risk for teenage mothers and mothers having children at older ages.