Regional Health Inequalities in Colombia

Autor o Editor
Luis Armando Galvis-Aponte
Juan Nicolás Rico Avendaño

La serie Documentos de Trabajo Sobre Economía Regional y Urbana es una publicación del Banco de la República - Sucursal Cartagena. Los trabajos son de carácter provisional, las opiniones y posibles errores son de responsabilidad exclusiva de los autores y no comprometen al Banco de la República ni a su Junta Directiva. 

Fecha de publicación


A vast amount of literature in Colombia has studied differentials in working conditions and income inequalities. Empirical results have shown that inequalities in the country have been persistent. Disparities in the health conditions of individuals have received less attention in a country like Colombia which, despite having relatively high health coverage, still suffers from problems in access to these services. The measurement of these inequalities between countries and within a geographic entity is the first step in making decisions that implement actions and strategies aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating inequalities. Taking these elements into account, this document aims to assess regional and individual disparities in the quality of health conditions and in the self-perception of such conditions. In relation to self-perception, the work uses subjective variables that investigate how individuals perceive their general health conditions on a qualitative scale. Subjective indicators tend to indicate that there are peripheral regions that experience a better perception of their health conditions. To include other dimensions that go beyond the subjective assessment, a health quality index is built from standardized questions that have been used in other countries. The results of the index show that it is the most prosperous regions that tend to have better health conditions.