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Female literacy empowers, and is an emancipator. The benefits of education in women are many and varied; one prime benefit is healthier children. There is an inverse relationship between female literacy and infant mortality. We have attempted to understand in this study the nature of this inverse relationship. Data on the infant mortality rate (IMR) and the female literacy on 28 Indian states were collected from the past 4 censuses. The change in both, the female literacy rate and the IMR between consecutive censuses was determined and then the change in IMR for a percentage rise in female literacy was calculated. The decline in IMR was not constant and the benefits of an accelerated decline in IMR accrued when the female literacy in the states approached 50% and a subsequent similar rapid decline was seen again at a 65%-70% female literacy rate. States which have progressed more on the female literacy front reduce infant mortality at a faster pace and this should motivate and encourage lesser literate states to enhance and reinforce their efforts to boost female literacy.
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Author(s): Anil Shetty and Shraddha Shetty
Infant Mortality Rate, Female literacy, Indian Census