Abstract

Poverty, maternal literacy and child mortality has been a policy issue in Nigeria, most especially in rural areas.
Studies have established their individual effects on households. However, the need to establish the link between the three welfare indicators is of great economic and social importance. The study aimed at investigating the linkage and effect of maternal education and household wealth on incidence of child mortality in rural Nigeria. The study made use of data obtained from the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS2013). Logit, probit and Principal Component Analysis models were the analytical techniques adopted. The findings revealed that mothers residing in the north-west recorded the highest percentage of no formal education (54%). Also, asset deprivation (poverty rate) is 63%, though higher in the northern divide than in the south. About 44 percent of the rural households recorded child mortality, with north-west households having the highest. The results revealed that maternal education improves households’ wealth; also, households with low level of maternal education and wealth index have the likelihood of recording higher child mortality rate in rural Nigeria. If the Sustainable Development Goals of ending extreme poverty, achieving good health, and ensuring gender equality in relation to female education are to be achieved, maternal human capital development and households’ welfare improvement should be the areas of focus in rural Nigeria.