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Latin American Convergence and Divergence Towards the Mortality Profiles of Developed Countries

Latin America is getting closer to the longevity levels of developed countries. However, high inequality in population health still prevails
Source: diego_cervo

Why do people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) live shorter lives than those in the developed countries? Is LAC approaching the levels of life expectancy and population health of the most developed regions in the world? A new study published in a leading journal of demography looks at health and mortality of 20 LAC countries during the period between 2000 and 2014. A new method that authors used allow for comparison of health and mortality profiles in these countries to a benchmark of the most developed countries in the world. They show that the mortality gap between LAC and the developed world has narrowed. The converging trend is related to policies aiming for universal healthcare coverage and to other programs focused on the improvement of the general well-being of the Latin Americans. However, the study also shows great differences in pace of convergence to the benchmark across LAC countries. While Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile and Uruguay are the frontrunners in longevity and population health with a gap in life expectancy of around 2 years, people from Bolivia and Haiti live approximately 20 years less than in developed countries. The large number of violent deaths, accidents and suicides has slowed down the convergence for males from Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela. To narrow further the health and mortality gap of LAC countries additional efforts to address amenable diseases and curb violence are needed. This should be done through sustainable health reforms and effective public interventions preventing violence.


This text is from the original press release that was published by the Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics (CPop), University of Southern Denmark on 24 June 2019.

Author(s) of the original publication: 
Jana Vobecká