National Mortality Trends and Differentials in South Africa

Nompumelelo B. Nzimande, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Suraya Dawad, University of Natal
Akim Mturi, University of Natal

During the apartheid system South Africa was a racially segregated society, with major inequalities along inter-ethnic lines. This perpetuated racial and geographic inequalities in health and socio-economic status in the population. This paper aims to demonstrate how the history of South Africa continues to have an effect on health differentials as measured by mortality. This is done by examining differentials and trends in adult and childhood mortality during the period 1987 to 1998 using data from national household surveys and census 1996. The main focus is on examining trends in mortality by sex, area of residence and population group. The results show that vast racial and geographic inequalities in health persist over time, with the African population having the worst health outcomes compared to other groups. Furthermore areas that were previously homelands continue to have poor outcomes.

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Presented in Session 122: SES and Child Mortality