Rural-Urban health and mortality differentials in Brazil, 2010-2013


  • José Henrique Costa Monteiro da Silva Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE) - Population Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Chile
  • Bernardo Lanza Queiroz Department of Demography and Development Center and Regional Planning (CEDEPLAR), Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil
  • Diana Sawyer Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) - Independent Consultant, Brazil
  • Fabiano Neves Alves Pereira Instituto Elo, Brazil
  • Raphael Mendonça Guimarães Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil



Mortality, Health, Rural-Urban Differentials, Life Expectancy, Brazil


Urbanization and economic development in developed countries fostered the debate of rural vs. urban health and mortality differentials. Low and middle-income countries experience uneven urbanization processes that result in an urban mortality penalty. Brazil is an example of this scenario of rural mortality advantage, despite the limited access to health services by rural residents. This paper assesses health and mortality differentials of rural and urban areas using morbidity prevalence data from the Brazilian National Health Survey of 2013 and the mortality information from the Brazilian National Census of 2010. The results show that urban residents display higher prevalence rates of diabetes and heart diseases, whereas rural residents display higher prevalence rates of osteoarticular diseases and functional disabilities. Indeed, adult individuals of rural areas presented better mortality indicators than those from urban areas. However, we verified that a significant share of rural individual's life co-occurs with physical and musculoskeletal related morbidities. These differences between urban and rural spaces need to be considered when making health policy decisions.