Volume 42 - Article 7 | Pages 165–202  

Trajectory of inequality of opportunity in child height growth: Evidence from the Young Lives study

By Toshiaki Aizawa

Abstract

Background: Socioeconomic circumstances during infancy and in early childhood shape later developmental opportunities. Understanding whether inequality in children’s health becomes stronger with age from the evidence of longitudinal data is an important first step in revealing the mechanism by which the intergenerational transmission of poverty takes place and evolves.

Objective: This study investigates the 15-year trajectory of inequality in height growth associated with early-life circumstances among children in Vietnam, Peru, Ethiopia, and India.

Methods: This study uses the datasets of the Young Lives study project, which is a large-scale crosscountry longitudinal study on childhood poverty conducted in Vietnam, Peru, Ethiopia, and India since 2002. Machine learning approaches are employed to estimate the relationship between early-life circumstances and child height.

Results: The inequality in height stemming from the difference in early-life circumstances persists even after children reach early adolescence. The proportion of inequality peaks when children are 5 years old. Our prediction using the random forest model shows that, if we were able to fully compensate for early-life socioeconomic disadvantages, we could increase the lower percentile of the height distribution and reduce the inequality in height at age 15 by half.

Conclusions: The results suggest that children from marginalised households should be supported at the earlier developmental stage.

Contribution: This study shows the life-course evolution of inequalities in child growth, explores the dynamic link between early-life circumstances and later consequences, and identifies optimal timing in terms of when circumstances and events matter the most.

Author's Affiliation

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Union formation and fertility amongst immigrants from Pakistan and their descendants in the United Kingdom: A multichannel sequence analysis
Volume 48 - Article 10    | Keywords: assimilation, fertility, life course, migrants, sequence analysis, union formation, United Kingdom

Variations in male height during the epidemiological transition in Italy: A cointegration approach
Volume 48 - Article 7    | Keywords: cointegration analysis, early life conditions, height, historical demography, infant survival, time series

Solo living in the process of transitioning to adulthood in Europe: The role of socioeconomic background
Volume 48 - Article 3    | Keywords: cross-national comparison, Europe, leaving home, life course, living alone, trajectories, transition to adulthood

Gender and educational inequalities in disability-free life expectancy among older adults living in Italian regions
Volume 47 - Article 29    | Keywords: disability, gender, health, inequalities, Italy, mortality, older adults, regions

A dyadic approach to the study of perceived subfecundity and contraceptive use
Volume 47 - Article 1    | Keywords: childbearing desires, contraception, dyads, life course, perceived infertility

Cited References: 75

Download to Citation Manager

PubMed

Google Scholar

Volume
Page
Volume
Article ID