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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 349-353

Female literacy rate is a better predictor of birth rate and infant mortality rate in India


Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Suman Saurabh
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, 4th floor, Administrative Block, JIPMER , Dhanvantarinagar, Puducherry-605 006
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.123889

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Background: Educated women are known to take informed reproductive and healthcare decisions. These result in population stabilization and better infant care reflected by lower birth rates and infant mortality rates (IMRs), respectively. Materials and Methods: Our objective was to study the relationship of male and female literacy rates with crude birth rates (CBRs) and IMRs of the states and union territories (UTs) of India. The data were analyzed using linear regression. CBR and IMR were taken as the dependent variables; while the overall literacy rates, male, and female literacy rates were the independent variables. Results: CBRs were inversely related to literacy rates (slope parameter = -0.402, P < 0.001). On multiple linear regression with male and female literacy rates, a significant inverse relationship emerged between female literacy rate and CBR (slope = -0.363, P < 0.001), while male literacy rate was not significantly related to CBR (P = 0.674). IMR of the states were also inversely related to their literacy rates (slope = -1.254, P < 0.001). Multiple linear regression revealed a significant inverse relationship between IMR and female literacy (slope = -0.816, P = 0.031), whereas male literacy rate was not significantly related (P = 0.630). Conclusion: Female literacy is relatively highly important for both population stabilization and better infant health.


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