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Migration bias in indirect estimates of regional childhood mortality levels


  • Carl Schmertmann
  • Diana Oya Sawyer


Demographers often use Brass-style indirect methods to obtain childhood mortality estimates for regions within developing countries. Regional populations are not closed to migration, however, and mortality reports of women resident in a certain region on the survey date may contain information on events and exposure that occurred elsewhere as the mother migrated. Including this “imported”; mortality information may cause significant bias in regional estimates. In this paper the authors: (1) investigate the possible magnitude of migration bias using a multiregional simulation model, (2) propose a modification to standard methods which should reduce bias in many circumstances, and (3) apply the modified technique to data from Brazil's 1980 Census. We find that migration bias can indeed be significant, and that in the specific case of Sao Paulo state, imported mortality information may result in overestimates of local mortality levels of 10-15% when using Brass-style methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Carl Schmertmann & Diana Oya Sawyer, 1996. "Migration bias in indirect estimates of regional childhood mortality levels," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 69-93.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:mpopst:v:6:y:1996:i:2:p:69-93
    DOI: 10.1080/08898489609525424

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    Cited by:

    1. Narayan Sastry, 2002. "Trends in Socioeconomic Inequalities in Under-Five Mortality: Evidence from Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1970-1991," Working Papers 02-15, RAND Corporation.
    2. Narayan Sastry, 2004. "Trends in socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in developing countries: The case of child Survival in São Paulo, Brazil," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 443-464, August.


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