Volume 39 - Article 21 | Pages 635–646
Background: In the last few years the need for disaggregated statistics at small territorial levels to monitor the social and economic conditions of the various areas of a country has increased considerably. The question of how to define these indicators has been the topic of a recent international debate.
Objective: This study aims to assess whether simple, widely available demographic indexes, like mortality measures, may serve as sentinel indicators of economic development and social wellbeing in Italy.
Methods: We analyse and compare the geographical patterns of the infant mortality rate and of the mortality rates for leading causes of death with the spatial pattern found for a more complex index, the vulnerability index, recently introduced by the Italian National Institute for Statistics at the provincial level in contemporary Italy.
Results: Mortality from leading causes of death such as diseases of the circulatory system, and mortality from increasingly emergent causes of death such as diabetes, may offer a valid statistic to grasp economic development and social wellbeing in Italy today.
Conclusions: Our findings are important because policymakers need to rely on indicators with the following fundamental properties: easy availability, clear definition, temporal continuity, and spatial comparability.
Contribution: This study contributes to the literature by showing that mortality data is a straightforward and powerful tool to help policymakers plan appropriate interventions.
- Elisabetta Barbi - Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy EMAIL
- Oliviero Casacchia - Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy EMAIL
- Filomena Racioppi - Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy EMAIL
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