Introduction A higher degree of urbanisation in developing countries is associated with lower levels of poverty, usually through economic growth. However, urbanisation is also linked with the segregation of poor communities, as they are clustered into fewer neighbourhoods (eg, through slum clearance programs) or increasingly isolated in the neighbourhoods they live in (eg, through the in-migration of poor migrants into their neighbourhoods or the out-migration of richer households).
Greater socioeconomic inequalities are associated with higher mortality, although the association of socioeconomic segregation with mortality is not as well established. If urbanisation leads to positive outcomes (economic growth) as well as negative outcomes (socioeconomic segregation), it is crucial to examine the association of such segregation with mortality rates.
Methods This ESRC Pathfinder project examines the association of socioeconomic segregation of poor communities in major Indian cities with mortality using data from the District Level Household Surveys in 2002 and 2008. Measures of socioeconomic segregation (indices of dissimilarity and isolation) were correlated with city level mortality rates.
Results Preliminary analysis suggests differential associations between measures of socioeconomic segregation and mortality. Cities where the poor are more isolated in their neighbourhoods have higher mortality rates than cities where the poor are less isolated. Whereas cities where the poor are clustered into fewer neighbourhoods have lower mortality rates than cities where the poor are more evenly spread out.
Conclusion As Indian cities grow in population, they may also become more socioeconomically segregated, which may also have negative consequences for population health.
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