The influence of the Great Recession on perinatal health: an ecological study on the trend changes and regional differences in Portugal

Julia nadine Doetsch, Ricardo Almendra, Milton Severo, Teresa Leão, Raquel Teixeira, Sandra Marques, Eva Pilot, Thomas Krafft, Henrique Barros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Few studies examine the relationship between socioeconomic factors and trends in mortality in highincome European countries. Due to the lack of regional-level data, most recent studies on social inequality in Portugal do not investigate regional differences. This study analyses time trends and regional disparities in the evolution of perinatal mortality (PMR) and infant mortality (IMR) associated with demographic and
socioeconomic indicators following Portugal’s 2008 economic and financial crisis.
Methods: Associations were assessed using generalised linear models. A Poisson joinpoint regression model was
applied to identify relevant PMR and IMR changes between 2000 and 2018. Country regional disparities were analysed using Mixed Effect Multilevel models.
Findings: IMR and PMR significantly decreased in the pre-crisis period but not in the post-crisis period. The
significant differences between regions in IMR and PMR in 2000 were followed by a different evolution of regional IMR after 2008. PMR and IMR were not significantly associated with socioeconomic indicators. A significant positive association with maternal age at first birth was identified.
Interpretation: Results confirm the influence of the crisis on PMR and IMR trends in Portugal, taking into account recurring associations between macroeconomic cycles, variations in mortality trends, macroeconomic volatility, and stagnation of IMR and PMR. Regional inequalities confirm the internal variability of the crisis influence and persistent spatial inequalities affecting IMR patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100735
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Europe
Issue numbernovember
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Great Recession
  • Infant mortality
  • Perinatal mortality
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Mortality trends


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