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psc brown bag iconSocioeconomic Risk Factors for Adult Mortality in a Middle-Income Country: The Costa Rican Longitudinal Mortality Study

William H. Dow (School of Public Health and Berkeley Population Center, University of California, Berkeley)

12/05/2011, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

Although Costa Rica is a middle-income country, vital statistics data indicate that life expectancy has converged to that of many developed countries. To further explore this apparently exceptional longevity we have recently completed the Costa Rican National Longitudinal Mortality Study (CR-NLMS) which tracks mortality events in a cohort of 20,000 Costa Rican adults drawn from the 1984 census. Over 5,000 deaths have been confirmed thus far, mirroring national life table estimates. We estimate socioeconomic and demographic gradients in all-cause and cardiovascular adult mortality hazard regressions, something rarely accomplished in a developing country population. Our prior research based on CRELES household survey data had found remarkably flat socioeconomic gradients in recent Costa Rican older adult mortality, which some had interpreted as providing evidence consistent with the hypothesis that Costa Rica’s strong safety net and historically equitable society may have protected low SES individuals. Our new analyses with CR-NLMS are able to establish Costa Rica’s mortality patterns much more definitively, increasing the confidence in lessons that can be drawn from this country’s unique longevity accomplishments.


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