Mortality changes in the Iberian Peninsula in the last decades of the twentieth century

By Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Dana Glei, Rosa Gómez-Redondo, Edviges Coelho, Carl Boe


Life expectancies in Portugal (81.3 years for females and 74.9 for males) and Spain (83.5 years for females and 76.9 for males) in 2005 rank among the lowest in Western Europe (Portuguese males) and the highest (Spanish females), respectively. This article studies the converging trends in mortality for these two countries of the Iberian Peninsula during the second half of the twentieth century. Portuguese life expectancy appears to follow the same trajectory as that of Spain, but lagged by several years (10 years for females, 15 years for males). Major improvements have occurred at all ages, however, helping to narrow the mortality gap between the two countries. Age- and cause-specific decomposition analyses reveal that ages 20-79 for men and ages 60 and above for women account for the largest share of the remaining inter-country gap in life expectancy. The causes of death that are the major contributors to this gap include diseases of the circulatory system and, for males, external causes.

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