Data from the 1988 Tanzania census were used to examine child mortality in three regions populated with Burundi refugees. Logistic and least squares analyses show that for both Tanzanian nationals and refugees low levels of maternal education are associated with high child mortality levels. Children born to mothers who are housewives are associated with low levels of mortality compared to those born to employed mothers, though the results were not statistically significant for the refugees. Maternal demographic status, computed from age and parity, has a strong effect on child survival. Unexpectedly, child mortality was lower where the water source was a well outside the village. Tanzanian mothers who are at highest risk of childbearing are roughly 6·4 times more likely to have a child death than those at lowest risk; the corresponding figure for the refugees is 36·8. This emphasises the need to intensify family planning programmes in these regions.