This study aimed to assess the magnitude of inequalities in mortality in children under the age of five (U5M) across socio-cultural groups and to evaluate the social determinants of U5M in Nigeria. A cross-sectional study using the dataset of women in reproductive age group obtained from the 2008 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey was examined. Mortality among children under five born to women between the years 2003-2008 was explored. The relative gap between U5M was estimated and determinants of U5M were explored with logistic regression analysis. Wide inequalities were observed across population groups. Rural areas had 41% higher U5M than urban areas and families in the poorest wealth quintile had double the U5M of the richest. U5M inequality was greater in urban than rural groups. There were also variations by ethnicity and the gradient of U5M favored the southern zones of the country. The predictors of U5M were: increasing paternal age, Hausa ethnicity, living in the northern regions of the country, lack of formal education of mothers and being in the lowest wealth quintile. These inequalities in U5M will continue to impede the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal targets for Nigeria unless decisive actions are taken.
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