Public health expenditure and life expectancy: a healthy investment

Publication type


Series Number



Perspectives Demogràfiques


Publication date

October 15, 2022


During the financial crisis and subsequent economic recession, life expectancy in Spain continued its growth trend, rising from 82.3 years in 2008 to 82.92 years in 2014. However, in a context of low mortality rates, it is also important to know about the evolution of time in which we live in good and bad health. Spain’s great regional heterogeneity and its decentralised public health system make it possible to observe how a variety of regional economic and sociodemographic factors may be associated with changes in health indicators. In this study, we analyse the evolution of years lived with and without the most prevalent and disabling health conditions after the age of 50 in 17 Spanish Autonomous Communities in order to understand their association with several macro socioeconomic factors, public provision of health services, public health expenditure, and health-related behaviours. The period of analysis is from 2006 to 2019 in order to cover the phases of expansion, crisis, and economic recovery that the country has experienced in the recent years. The results show that per capita public health expenditure is one of the components that most clearly explains health differences between regions; and higher public health expenditure means more years lived in good health and fewer years lived in bad health.







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