Abstract

From the Demographic and Epidemiological Transition, conceptual framework of our research, we propose what happened in the province of Tarragona between 1900 and 1935 (before the Spanish Civil War). Early in the XX century, this territory holds the highest life expectancy of all the Spanish provinces, which increased year per year as the century progressed. The evolution of general mortality, infant mortality, and causes of death in the province of Tarragona are analyzed in comparison with Catalonia and Spain. The data used was derived from statistics on deaths classified according to cause of death from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística and the Institut d’Estadistica de Catalunya. This epidemiological study has been performed by grouping major causes of death; and the methodology used is that of indirect standardization. The results show: that between 1900 and 1935, life expectancy increased about 20 years; and that women’s life expectancy grew more than that of men. Life expectancy improvement for Tarragona is due to the lower incidence of diseases caused by infectious diseases, promoting quality of life through the pioneering efforts of hygienists (mainly between 1910-1920 Reus), education, high levels of parental literacy, good diet in nutrients, and good weather.
Keywords: Life expectancy, infant mortality, infectious diseases, epidemiological transition, quality of life, Spain