Covid decreased life expectancy in Latin America and the Caribbean: ECLAC

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warned that the covid-19 pandemic caused a drop in life expectancy in the regionas well as a higher number of deaths, compared to the world average, to which is added the strong impact it has had on women, especially in the workplace, since the labor participation rate of women experienced a decline of 18 years due to the crisis.

The director of Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Center (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC, Simone Cecchini pointed out that in 2021, Latin America and the Caribbean lost 2.9 years of life expectancy, compared to 2019, while the world average was 1.75 years; In addition, the quality of life gaps were widened, since in Haiti it is 63 years and in Chile it is 78 years.

“This is a good indicator of development, there are great inequalities between countries, for example, in our region we go from a life expectancy of 63 years to 78 years in Chile for both sexes; and speaking of the Caribbean, which has occurred since August 2021, it is observed that the mortality rate has doubled that of Latin America and that intersects with the issue of vaccination, because unfortunately it is observed that in the Caribbean countries there has been a low level of vaccination and this has contributed to raising the mortality rate,” he said.

Impaired sexual health services

During the presentation of the document The sociodemographic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbeanthe ECLAC official added that the pandemic generated a disruption of sexual and reproductive health serviceslimiting timely access to quality contraception.

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In the framework of Fourth Meeting of the Regional Conference on Population and Developmentpointed out that in 2022 there was a 49 percent decrease in pregnancy controls in 27 countries in the region, as well as a decrease in coverage of sexual and reproductive health, family planning, consultations on contraceptive methods, HIV treatment and access to safe abortions.

“This generates situations of risk and greater vulnerability, especially in women with greater obstacles to the exercise of their rights, in some countries increases in maternal mortality are observed,” ECLAC pointed out.


Simone Cecchini indicated that there is heterogeneity in the number of deaths between countries, territories and population groups, reflecting structural inequalities as well as different institutional capacities.

He warned that there is an urgent need to accelerate vaccination in all age groups for which the vaccines were approved, since the low rate of vaccination and social inequalities can contribute to prolonging the pandemic and fostering the emergence of new variants.

The study pointed out that two years after the pandemic was declared, Latin America and the Caribbean has a total of 1.7 million deaths reported by covid-19 (until May 2022). These represent 27.2 percent of the total deaths from coronavirus in the world, despite the fact that the population of the region only represents 8.4 percent of the world population.

Impact on women

ECLAC stated that the The crisis caused by covid-19 affected the employment of women to a greater extent than that of men, since the labor participation rate of women experienced an 18-year setback due to the crisis, decreasing from 51.8 percent in 2019 to 47.7 percent in 2020, while in the case of men it went from 75.5 to 70.8 percent cent in the same period.

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In 2022, it is estimated that the participation rate of women would have increased to 51.3 percent, a figure similar to that recorded in 2018. This represents a setback of four years, which still leaves one out of every two women of legal age. to work outside the labor market.