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Socio-economic correlates of life expectancy at birth--the case of developing countries

Socio-economic correlates of life expectancy at birth--the case of developing countries

In'gu Pogon Nonjip 9(2): 214-226

The effects of socioeconomic and health services related variables on life expectancy at birth and examined. National data for 50 developing countries obtained from the book "Family Planning and Child Survival: 100 Developing Countries" compiled by the Center for Population and Family Health, Columbia University, and from the 1987 World Population Data Sheet, have been used in this analysis. The multiple regression technique has been employed to identify the variables significantly associated with the life expectancy at birth. 13 explanatory variables include energy consumption/capita, male literacy rate, female literacy rate, per capita gross national product, population living in urban areas, % of population with access to safe water supply, population/hospital bed, population/physician, of oral rehyd ration solution packets used/100 diarrhea episodes, and family planning program effort score. Among these the 1st 2 variables were dropped from the analysis as they posed threats of multicollinearity. The remaining 11 variables were considered for inclusion in the regression model. Only female literacy rate, family planning program effort, and per capita daily calories are significantly associated with life expectancy at birth. The female literacy rate has the largest contribution in lowering the life expectancy at birth followed by family planning program effort, and per capita daily calories. These 3 variables have a number of policy implications. High female literacy rate has a depressant effect on infant mortality rate. It is expected that the higher the family planning program effort, the lower the fertility. Also, calorie supply measures nutritional status and differences in food availability. In conclusion, there is a need in developing countries to express development goals in terms of progressive reduction in infant mortality through maternal education, limitation of family size through family planning efforts, and eventual elimination of malnutrition from the poverty-stricken people, to achieve the goal of minimum mortality level.

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Accession: 047392025

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PMID: 12342756

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