Abstract

Introduction. The objective of this study is to determine the existence of life expectancy inequities depending on the province of birth in Costa Rica, according to sex, between 2013 and 2017. The role of violent deaths (homicide and traffic accidents) in these inequities is disentangled. Methods. The gross and theoretical life expectancy (without violent deaths) between 2013 and 2017 is calculated from two Electoral rolls, the Birth Registry and the Death Registry. The sample size is superior to 4 million and more than 93,000 people died during the study period. Results. There are statistically significant differences in life expectancy, according to the province of birth in Costa Rica. The greatest difference in life expectancy was found when comparing the province of Limón (76.1 years) versus the rest of the provinces of the country in men (between 77.6 years in San José and 78.7 in Alajuela). The homicide rate and mortality due to traffic accidents partially explain this difference, but the association is still significant. For women, despite being significantly different, life expectancies are similar in the seven provinces, with a minimum of 82.6 years in Puntarenas and San José, and a maximum of 83.2 in Alajuela. Conclusion. The inequities of life expectancy according to the province of birth exist in Costa Rica, but are concentrated in men who born in the province of Limón. The absence of a clear relation between province’s wealth and life expectancy, particularly in women, is surprising and deserves more research.

Keywords: Social Health Inequity, Health Status Disparities, Costa Rica, Life expectancy, Violent death