An Explanation of Rural-Urban Variations in Child Nutrition Status in Malawi

Grace Kumchulesi, University of Malawi

Rural-urban variation in child malnutrition is firmly established in Malawi. As the 2009 Welfare Monitoring Survey shows, rural children in Malawi have a higher proportion of stunted at 36 percent compared to urban children at 31 percent. In this view, this study uses the Blinder-Oaxaca type decomposition analysis to identify and quantify the separate contributions of group differences in measurable characteristic to the nutrition status of children. Using dataset from the 2004 Malawi Demographic Health Survey, the study finds that consumption of liquid foodstuffs decreases odds of children being malnourished. Also, sex does not determine stunting, indicating absence of child preference associated with child feeding. Most of the malnutrition variation between the rural and urban children is explained by parents’ education and household economic status. Urban children have socioeconomic advantages compared to their rural counterparts, suggesting that poverty is a major driver behind higher malnutrition outcomes in rural Malawi.

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Presented in Poster Session 5