Inequality of Infant Mortality among Ethnic Groups in Guatemala

Hirotoshi Yoshioka, University of Texas at Austin
Thomas W. Pullum, University of Texas at Austin

While not the poorest of Central American countries, Guatemala has the highest infant rate in the region. The high rate may be due to a very high inequality level that derives from the country’s high proportion of indigenous people who face far more difficult socioeconomic situations than non-indigenous populations. However, difficulties that each of 22 Mayan linguistic groups and Xinca and Garifuna groups face is not identical. Therefore, to promote socioeconomic equality and better welfare in Guatemala, it is fundamental to understand socioeconomic and demographic situations of each group. Using Guatemala’s 2002 ENSMI data, I examine infant mortality differentials between several indigenous and non-indigenous groups. The study finds that the degree of disadvantage among indigenous groups in infant mortality differs by ethnic groups. Hence, the study suggests that social programs aiming to reduce infant mortality cannot be effective unless they take into account the different needs of different indigenous groups.

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Presented in Poster Session 3