Consanguinity and early mortality in the muslim populations of India and Pakistan
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Biomedical and Sports Science
Empirical information from studies conducted in Pakistan has indicated a high level of offspring mortality that can be attributed to parental consanguinity even when non-biological variables are controlled. However, with the exception of some small and geographically restricted studies, few comparable data are available on the influence of inbreeding in child survival among the Muslim population of India, which numbers between 100 and 120 million. The present study compares deaths during the first 5 years of life among the offspring of first cousin (F = 0.0625) and non-consanguineous unions (F = 0), using data collected in the 1992–1993 Indian National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and the 1990–1991 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS). The focus was on determinants of mortality in live-born children to age 5 years. In both countries, bivariate analyses indicated that mortality was significantly increased in the offspring of first cousin unions during the neonatal and post-neonatal, total infant, and under-5 year periods. The findings were confirmed by multivariate regression, which incorporated control for a range of biological and demographic factors.