Background: In Chile, the demographic structure and the causes of morbidity and of mortality among the population have undergone major changes within a relatively short period of time. These changes have taken place within a framework of processes referred to respectively as demographic transition and epidemiological transition. This study is aimed at providing evidence as to the demographic transition and epidemiological transition which took place in this country within the 1960-2001 period.
Methods: This is a time-series study gathering demographic and death rate-related information from Chile throughout the 1960-2001 period. The data was taken from the Demographic Yearbooks of the National Institute of Statistics, from information produced by the Department of Prospective Studies under the Ministry of Planning and Cooperation and the Chilean Ministry of Health.
Results: In 1960, 39.6% of the population had less than 14 years old, natality rate was 36.3 per 1000, general mortality rate 12.3 per 1000 and Infant Mortality rate 120 per 1000. 44% of causes of decreases were by infectious and newborn's diseases. In 2001, 28% of the population has less than 14 years old, natality rate is 18.3 per 1000, General Mortality rate 5.4 per 1000 and Infant Mortality rate 8.9 per 1000. 68% of causes of diseases are by chronic diseases.
Conclusions: Based on the results, it can be said that Chile is currently in a late stage of demographic transition as well as epidemiological transition. Ascertaining Chile's actual situation will provide information to those Latin American countries which are currently in early stages of these types of transitions.