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Estimating Child Mortality From Complex Household Survey Data

Jessica Godwin
10 am - 11 am ET

A PRIISM Seminar by University of Washington's Jessica Godwin

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Join PRIISM and Dr. Jessica Godwin to learn about statistical techniques for estimating subnational child mortality rates.


Child mortality is a key indicator of the overall health of a population, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for continued decreases in child mortality and improvements of data systems for geographic subpopulations in less developed countries by the year 2030. Subnational child mortality data in low and middle income countries (LMICs) that can be used to quantify progress toward the SDGs is often limited to decennial censuses and national household surveys, and small sample sizes within administrative subdivisions of a country can yield imprecise estimates. We describe a methodological framework and reproducible pipeline for subnational estimation of the under-five mortality rate (U5MR) using birth histories from the Demographic & Health Surveys. We distinguish existing methods by how they address the complex survey design (design-based versus model-based), whether they are implemented at the area or unit level, whether or not spatiotemporal smoothing is used, and which methods are appropriate as area-level sample sizes decrease. Estimates for 22 countries were made in collaboration with the UN Inter-agency Group for Mortality Estimation.


Jessica is a Statistical Demographer and the Training Director for the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology (CSDE) at the University of Washington. Their roles include support and training for CSDE students pursuing demographic and population research and providing consulting in statistical and demographic methods to CSDE faculty affiliates and students. Their broad research interests include demographic methods, Bayesian spatiotemporal methods, survey statistics, and the places where all of those things overlap. Jessica is passionate about teaching, mentorship, and research applications that improve the lives of people and communities, all things fundamental to DSSG! Jessica received their Ph.D. from the Department of Statistics at the UW and is a former CSDE Trainee and Fellow. Born and raised in Alabama, they received their M.S. in Statistics and B.S. in Actuarial Science at Auburn University. War eagle!

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