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Colombia Médica

On-line version ISSN 1657-9534


JARAMILLO, Marta Cecilia; CHERNICHOVSKY, Dov  and  JIMENEZ MOLEON, José Juan. An assessment of infant mortality rates in Colombia, 1980-2009. Colomb. Med. [online]. 2019, vol.50, n.4, pp.275-285. ISSN 1657-9534.


The infant mortality rate is a key indicator of human welfare and development. However, in Colombia, the Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística has set the registered rate for 2009 as 13.69 per 1,000 live births, while the estimated rate is 20.13, suggesting the presence of inconsistencies in the data, as in many other transitional economies. Objective: To set the record straight on Colombia’s Infant mortality rate reporting since 1980 by using all available data that have recently become public.


The study analyzes 8,636,510 records of live births (1998-2009) and 443,338 records of deaths (1979-2009), and considers information from all available sources: births and death registries, census data, Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística, and Profamilia surveys. First, following a descriptive analysis, an exponential function is used to estimate the Infant mortality rates in Colombia for 1980-2009 while resolving internal inconsistencies in the data from all sources. The objective is to evaluate the infant mortality rate in Colombia, 1980-2009.


The analysis demonstrates that the registered and the estimated rates for 2009 are incompatible since they follow inconsistent long-term rates of decline in Infant mortality rate. While the registered rate underestimates the real situation, the estimated rate appears to grossly overestimate it. Analyses, based on other sources, put the Infant mortality rate between 15.81 and 17.58 in 2009, with rates of decline between 3.0 and 5.0 percent for the period 1980-2009.


The study concludes that during the period 1980-2009, the Infant mortality rate for Colombia on average fell from about 54 to about 17, suggesting a long-term annual rate of decline of about 4.0 percent.

Keywords : Infant mortality; trends; vital statistics; health information system; Colombia; inequality; infant mortality rate; Cross sectional study.

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