This paper tests uses nationally representative data from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to test whether a household’s market access, defined in terms of travel costs to the nearest town, facilitates resilience and reduces vulnerability to seasonal influences on child nutrition. The timing of a child’s birth has often been found to correlate with height, weight and other health outcomes, driven by exposure to seasonal fluctuations in diets and disease during sensitive periods of physiological development. Remoteness could mediate that relationship, leaving geographically isolated households especially vulnerable to seasonal fluctuations because they cannot easily buy and sell to smooth consumption, or access medical facilities when the health environment deteriorates. To complicate matters, the presence of nearby civil insecurity may make it physically unsafe to travel significant distances. Using the 2008 DHS survey of children born between 2002 and 2007, we find that birth season is closely linked to child weights but not heights, primarily in more remote areas. This finding contrasts sharply with household wealth, which is closely linked to child heights but not weights, and only in less remote areas. Conflicts do not appear to mediate the relationship, perhaps because recorded conflicts occur primarily near towns.


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