Analyzing Child Inequality in Córdoba, Argentina

The city of Córdoba in Argentina recently carried out its first geo-referenced study to examine the inequality gaps facing children in different residential areas.

The report, entitled “Indicators for Assessing Children’s Well-Being in the City of Córdoba,” was produced by Red Ciudadana Nuestra Córdoba and the Arcor Foundation, with technical support from Equity for Children. The study examines the material well-being (housing conditions, access to services and basic infrastructure), health, education, recreation and leisure, and spatial distribution within the city of the child population under the age of nine.

The findings reveal that the lowest-scoring areas in terms of children’s well-being are in the south and east of the city, and that these areas also have the largest populations of children under nine years old. The highest percentages of households with Unsatisfied Basic Needs (UBN) were identified here, ranging from 28% to 48%.

This geo-referenced analysis allows us to hone in on areas with a high proportion of young children and the resulting pressure on local services including health care, education and cultural services.


Information gaps and requirements

Geo-referencing identifies the parts of the city most in need of attention; however, for many of the indicators sought there is a lack of key public information to evaluate the difficulties that children in Córdoba face. These include:

  • Nutrition (height-to-weight ratio, undernourishment, obesity)—of particular importance considering that being underweight is a factor in 12% of infant mortality cases
  • Immunization coverage
  • Violence against children by age, location and type of violence
  • Teenage pregnancy: In 2016, 14.36% of all births were to mothers aged between ten and nineteen, but it is not possible to identify the parts of the city that require the greatest attention.

Some figures

1. Infant mortality (196 deaths in > 1 year)

– The Infant Mortality Ratio (IMR) was 8.2 per 1000 live births in 2015. This figure marks the city’s achievement of one of its Millennium Goals: reducing the infant mortality ratio by two thirds (66%) between 1990 (24.6) and 2015 (8.2). In 2016, there were 173 infant deaths. The reduction reported in the municipality’s epidemiological report indicates an IMR of 7.8 per 1000 live births.

– Preventable Infant Mortality: this ratio is arrived at by evaluating the potential for reducing the number of deaths from causes that could be tackled with scientific knowledge and available technology. More than half of all infant deaths in 2015 could have been avoided, that is 53.6% (more than 100 deaths < 1 year). In 2016, this percentage fell to 48.6% (84 deaths < 1 year). Over the past five years, there has been a 55% decline in reducible deaths.

– How these deaths could have been avoided:

  • Through prevention and early diagnosis or treatment in pregnancy and childbirth, and through adequate care for newborns.
  • Through treatment.

– Challenges:

  • It was not possible to obtain spatially-disaggregated data in relation to mortality ratios, only total figures. This makes it difficult to identify practical, targeted measures for each population.
  • Grouping causes of death by reducibility or avoidability, based on the mortality ratios for each district, is a hugely valuable tool for informing preventative action.
  • The risk of death among children under the age of one year is a reflection not only of living conditions in early childhood, but also of the care and attention given to children’s health.
  • Local-level analysis of the causes of infant deaths is vital for planning purposes, given the wide variations among different jurisdictions.

– Comparative data: (2015)

  • IMR Córdoba: 8.2
    • Argentina: 9.7
    • City of Buenos Aires 6.4
    • Cali: 8.79 – Bogotá: 8.7
  • Preventable/Reducible <1 year Córdoba: 48.6%
    • Argentina: 62.9% (Ministry of Health)
    • Bogotá: 59.93%

2. Early education – School attendance:

– Inequality by age: The gap in children’s access to education on the basis of age was shown to be 34 percentage points. Older children are nearly twice as likely to attend school as younger ones.

  • 3-4 years: 64.7%
  • 5 to 9 years: 98.7%

– Spatial inequality: School attendance among 3- and 4-year-olds: In terms of access to education, a gap of 23.7 percentage points was identified between children living in certain areas of the city.

  • CPC [Centro de Participación Comunal, administrative division of the city of Córdoba] Argüello-Zona Cerro: 77.9%
  • CPC Empalme Zona Intermedia Sudeste: 54.2%
  • One of the government’s targets for 2016-19 was to phase in 50 new classrooms for early education in neighborhoods with greatest demand and high levels of social vulnerability. This disaggregated data can help guide measures to meet the demand for new classrooms in areas where coverage is low.

3. Recreation and leisure:

– Spatial inequalities (green space in square meters per person by CPC): Those living in Colón enjoy more than 5 times more access to green space per person

CPC 1 – Centro América 7.8 m2 pp

CPC 4 – Colón 42.4 m2 pp

4. Material well-being:

– Significant gap in access to quality housing: The gap between different areas in terms of the number of households containing children under 8 years of age and living in poor-quality housing is 62.78%. In other words, in some areas only 0.81% of households live in poor-quality housing, while in others this figure reaches 63.53%.


Read the Prologue to the Córdoba study written by Alberto Minujin here.

Access the full report in Spanish here.


Translation provided by Ruth Grant at Tinta Viva Translation.


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