Population, Biological Welfare and Human Capital in Norway, Sweden, Bolivia, Chile and Peru During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

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2021

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Palgrave Macmillan

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This chapter provides a comparison of the main demographic and human capital trends of two Nordic countries (Norway and Sweden) and three Andean countries (Bolivia, Chile and Peru) during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During this period, all countries experienced a demographic and epidemiological transition but at different paces and at different times. In all five countries people now live longer, being also taller, stronger and healthier. Their population are also better educated than ever before, although there are contrasting realities across countries, despite some remarkable convergence processes for some indicators of living standards. The selected indicators we have used in our comparative analysis include population, migration flows, ethnicity, rate of urbanization, infant mortality, life expectancy, height, average years of schooling, literacy rates and numeracy. As was to be expected, the population growth of the three Andean countries has been far greater than that of Norway and Sweden. Regarding the path followed by the indicators of economic development and living standards, Norway and Sweden excel the three Andean countries, and by far, in all the indicators we have considered, while their performance is rather similar. Our two Nordic countries exhibit an homogenous behaviour. However, within the three Andean countries Chile performs far better than both Bolivia and Peru, while Peru does better than Bolivia. And indeed, the performance of these three Latin American countries is far more heterogenous than that of the Nordic countries.

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