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The Timing and Pace of Health Transitions around the World

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  • James C. Riley

Abstract

Estimates from some 700 mostly national studies of survival in the past are assembled to create a broad picture of regional and global life expectancy gains across space and time and to examine implications of that picture. At the initiation of their health transitions, most countries had a life expectancy between 25 and 35 years. Countries that began later made gains at a faster pace. Those faster gains are usually associated with the dissemination of Western medicine. But rapid gains occurred in the period 1920-50, largely before the availability of antibiotics or modern vaccines. Especially rapid gains came in the years immediately after World War II in countries where the leading causes of death were communicable diseases that could be managed with antibiotics but also in countries where the leading causes of death were degenerative organ diseases. Both periods of rapid gain await satisfactory explanation. The bibliography of more than 700 sources is published separately on the web at « http://www.lifetable.de.RileyBib.htm ». Copyright 2005 The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • James C. Riley, 2005. "The Timing and Pace of Health Transitions around the World," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(4), pages 741-764.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:31:y:2005:i:4:p:741-764
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2007. "On the Determinants of Mortality Reductions in the Developing World," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(2), pages 247-287.
    2. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
    3. Adolfo Meisel-Roca & Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2018. "Más de cien años de avances en el nivel de vida: El caso de Colombia," Cuadernos de historia económica 015922, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ECONOMÍA REGIONAL.
    4. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2015. "World Human Development: 1870–2007," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 220-247, June.
    5. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2007. "International inequality and polarization in living standards, 1870-2000 : evidence from the Western World," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp07-05, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    6. repec:ura:ecregj:v:1:y:2018:i:1:p:109-122 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. E. Van de Poel & O. O'Donnell & E. Van Doorslaer, 2009. "The Health Penalty of China's Rapid Urbanization," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-016/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Michal Engelman & Vladimir Canudas-Romo & Emily M. Agree, 2010. "The Implications of Increased Survivorship for Mortality Variation in Aging Populations," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(3), pages 511-539.
    9. Casabonne, Ursula & Kenny, Charles, 2012. "The Best Things in Life are (Nearly) Free: Technology, Knowledge, and Global Health," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35.
    10. Thomas Spoorenberg, 2013. "Demographic Changes in Myanmar since 1983: An Examination of Official Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 39(2), pages 309-324, June.
    11. Adolfo Meisel-Roca & Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2018. "Más de cien años de avances en el nivel de vida: El caso de Colombia," Cuadernos de Historia Económica 46, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.

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