infant mortality in Chile, Costa Rica and Cuba

Infant Mortality Rates

(per thousand live births)

Year Chile    Costa Rica   Cuba

1960 119.5        74.3         35.9
1965 97.3         75.0         37.8
1970 82.2          61.5         38.7
1973 65.8          44.8         28.9
1980 33.0          19.1         19.6
1990 16.0          14.8         10.7
1992 13.9           13.7         10.2
2000 10.1          10.2           7.0

If we believe that the data are reasonably accurate, it is remarkable to note that in 1960 the infant mortality rate in Cuba was less than half of the rate in Costa Rica and less than a third of the rate in Chile. … [Both] Costa Rica and Chile were able to reduce infant mortality sharply, to the point that it is very close to Cuba’s. …. We can conclude that both Costa Rica and Chile were able to achieve very significant improvements in well being without having to suffer the devastating effects of socialism.

Juan A. B. Belt, “Costa Rica in Mesa-Lago’s Market, Socialist and Mixed Economies: Chile, Cuba and Costa Rica”, Cuba in Transition, ASCE 2001, p. 225.

Juan Belt is commenting on Cuban economist Carmelo Mesa-Lago’s book Market, Socialist, and Mixed Economies (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000). I added infant mortality rates for the year 2000 to Juan Belt’s table.

Recycled from the Thought du Jour 2003 archive.

Tags: , ,

One Response to “infant mortality in Chile, Costa Rica and Cuba”

  1. Mr. Econotarian says:

    When you get down to a small number for infant mortality rates, the details of abortion policy begin to matter.

    In Chile, all abortion is illegal, period. Current penal laws consider a woman’s life to be subordinated to that of the fetus in gestation. In Costa Rica, abortion rights are severely restricted. Abortion has been legal in Cuba since 1965, and is allowed for medical reasons after the 10th week.

    So the achievement of a specific low infant mortality rate in Cuba is easier than Chile, because more fetuses that are medically complicated may be aborted in Cuba before being born.