Child Mortality and Religious Affiliation by Ethnicity in Chiapas, Mexico

Eunice D. Vargas Valle, University of Texas at Austin
Leticia E. Fernandez, University of Texas at El Paso

A considerable number of indigenous people in Mexico have converted to Protestant religions in recent years. Religious affiliation and religious conversion have been associated with health status in other populations. In this analysis we investigate whether there is a statistical relationship between religious affiliation and child mortality within indigenous and non-indigenous groups in Chiapas, Mexico. Our analysis includes Brass-type estimates for child mortality and multivariate analysis that comprises various socioeconomic and demographic factors that may account for this association. The data came from the 10% sample of the 2000 Mexican Census (INEGI, 2000). Our findings indicate that among indigenous people, Historical Protestants and Pentecostal-Evangelicals have lower rates of child mortality than Catholics. However, we did not find significant differentials in child mortality by religious affiliation among non-indigenous people. The social and cultural transformations that tend to accompany religious conversion may have an impact on the health of disadvantaged populations such as the indigenous people in Chiapas.

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Presented in Poster Session 3