I examined trends in socioeconomic inequalities in under-five mortality for the state of São Paulo, Brazil, over a 21-year period from 1970 to 1991, during which much of the mortality transition unfolded. During this time, there was a decline in inequality in under-five mortality by household wealth but a substantial increase by mother’s education. Improvements in infrastructure and economic development were associated with lower levels of socioeconomic inequality in under-five mortality. Mother’s education emerged as the key factor underlying socioeconomic inequalities in under-five mortality even as levels of education for women increased and inequality in schooling fell.

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