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Social Determinants of Mortality

Mortality rate is a measure of the frequency of occurrence of death in a defined population during a specified interval. Demographers use two different concepts when referring to mortality – the life span which is the numerical age limit of human life and life expectancy or expectation which is the average expected number of years of life to be lived by a particular population at a given time. However demographers often use the maximum-recorded age at death as an accepted operational definition of the human life span. A high income at aggregate and individual levels is expected to cause decline in mortality because it facilitates increased consumption of items favorable to health such as food and nutrition, medical and public health services, education, housing and leisure. Provision of public health services is another important factor affecting mortality. In developed countries the validation of the germ theory of disease in the late 19th century and its impact on public health practices and technology had a significant impact on subsequent mortality decline. Education has an important role in affecting mortality. The link between education and mortality may be stated as the education of mother is of crucial significance. One possible mechanism is greater awareness among literate women about the need to use modern health facilities and consequently higher utilization of the facilities by them than by the illiterate women. Other mechanisms through which education affects mortality are perhaps by generating modern attitudes regarding health, disease, nutrition, personal hygiene and sanitation.

Measurement of Mortality

Crude Death Rate- The crude mortality rate is the mortality rate from all causes of death for a population.

Cause specific Mortality Rate- It is the mortality rate from a specified cause for a population. The numerator is the number of deaths attributed to a specific cause. The denominator remains the size of the population at the mid point of the time period.

Age specific Mortality Rate-It is a mortality rate limited to a particular age group. The numerator is the number of deaths in that age group; the denominator is the number of persons in that age.