Differential Mortality: Methodological Issues and Biosocial Factors

Differential Mortality: Methodological Issues and Biosocial Factors

Differential Mortality: Methodological Issues and Biosocial Factors

Differential Mortality: Methodological Issues and Biosocial Factors


The decline of mortality in the less developed countries during the last thirty years has not been uniform across various strata of the national populations. Strongly pronounced differentials in survival chances exist between the urban white collar elites and the rural and city slum dwellers, and particularly affect women and children. This volume presents papers outlining new conceptual approaches and methodological issues related to the study of differential mortality, and explores such issues as the demographic impacts of famine and other disasters, the contribution of fertility decline to mortality change, and new health problems resulting from the aging of the population.


The Scientific Committee on Biological and Social Correlates of Mortality, established by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) decided at its meetings in December 1982 and March 1983 to focus its activities on issues related primarily to mortality transition in the less developed countries, and on the investigation of biological and socio-economic factors affecting infant and child survival. Attention was to be given to socio-economic differences in mortality in general, and in infant and child mortality in particular, both within and among countries; to the inter-country variations in the transition from high to low mortality and their determinants; and to social and cultural systems and institutions that facilitate or obstruct, as the case may be, such transition.

The committee approached the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) in Tokyo and reached an agreement on a programme for a joint seminar that would satisfy the iussp committee's objectives and meet NIRA's own research interests. nira undertook the sponsorship of the seminar and the funding of most of the participants as well as providing the conference facilities and services.

The seminar, entitled the IUSSP-NIRA Joint Seminar on Biological and Social Correlates of Mortality, was held from 24 to 27 November 1984, and attended by 34 participants from 15 countries. It was organized in six formal sessions, which were held at the National Women's Education Centre (Nihon Daigaku Kaikan). the closing, seventh, session was held at the Nihon University in Tokyo, and to this a wider audience of Japanese scholars and officials of the Government was invited by nira.

There were 20 invited papers presented and discussed in the formal sessions; an additional set of four papers was tabled for the participants' information.

The seminar was formally opened and the participants were welcomed by N. Kurakake, executive vice-president of nira and chairman of the local organizing committee, on behalf of nira, and L. T. Ruzicka, chairman of the iussp Scientific Committee, on behalf of the iussp. the president of iussp, M. Concepcion, attended the seminar, and she and the executive vice-president of nira were the principal speakers at the closing session.

The primary concern of the seminar was the socio-biological conditions which lead to, or sustain, high levels of mortality in the less developed countries. To keep this objective in focus, for this book a selection of papers which primarily address these issues was made.

The committee's collaboration with nira benefited from the negotiation and liaison undertaken by S. Kono, who had much to do with its success. in the . . .

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