Health in the Americas 2022


Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

The Health in the Americas+ country profiles are based on the interagency indicators available as of the dates referenced. The sources are referenced in this table. In some cases, the values of the indicators may differ from the most recent data available in the country.

Environmental and social determinants of health

In 2000 the total population of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was 24 427 729 inhabitants; by 2023 this figure had risen to 28 838 499, representing a 18.1% increase. Regarding the country’s demographic profile, in 2023 people over 65 years of age accounted for 8.8% of the total population, an increase of 4.1 percentage points compared to the year 2000. In 2023, there were 102.3 women per 100 men and 33. older people (65 years or older) per 100 children under 15 years of age, as can be seen in the country’s population pyramids, distributed by age group and sex (Figure 1). Considering the population between 15 and 64 years of age to be potentially active (i.e., potential participants in the labor force), this group represented 64.4% of the total population of the country in 2023 (18 585 811 people). When we add these figures to the potentially passive population (7 710 778 under 15 years of age and 2 541 911 over 65 years of age), the result is a dependency ratio of 55.2 potentially passive people per 100 potentially active people. This ratio was 63.1 in 2000.

Life expectancy at birth in 2023 was 72.9 years, lower than the average for the Region of the Americas and 0.4 years higher that in 2000.

Figure 1. Population pyramids of Venezuela, years 2000 and 2023

Between 2006 and 2016, the average number of years of schooling in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela increased by 37.3%, reaching an average of 10.3 years in the latest year for which information is available. The unemployment rate in 2022 was 5.3%. Disaggregated by sex, the rate was 6.1% for women and 4.8% for men. The literacy rate was 98.7% in 2021. In men, this figure was 99.1%; in women, 98.4%. In addition, 33.1% of the population were below the national poverty line in 2015, a decrease from 41.6% in 2000.

During the period 2000-2021, the country improved its score on the Human Development Index, with an increase of 1% (from a score of 0.684 to a score of 0.691); during the same period, the index rose 13.5% internationally and 9.4% in Latin America (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Human Development Index in the Region of the Americas, 2021

In 2020, public expenditure on health accounted for 1.68% of gross domestic product (GDP) (Figure 3) and 4.91% of total public expenditure, while out-of-pocket spending on health accounted for 25.88% of total health expenditure.

Figure 3. Domestic general government health expenditure as percentage of gross domestic product, 2020

Digital coverage

In 2017, 61.6% of the population had an internet connection, representing a considerable increase from 2000, when 3.4% of the population had an internet connection.

Health situation

Maternal and child health

Between 2000 and 2016, infant mortality in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela increased from 19.4 to 20.23 deaths per 1000 live births, a decrease of 4.3% (Figure 4). The percentage of low-weight births (less than 2500 g) increased from 8.7% to 9.5% between 2003 and 2017.

Regarding the immunization strategy, measles vaccination coverage was 68% in 2021, a decrease of 16 percentage points from 2000.

The maternal mortality ratio for 2020 was estimated at 259.2 deaths per 100 000 live births, a reduction of 180.5% from the estimated value for 2000 (Figure 5). In relation to fertility, it is estimated that in 2023 women had an average of 2.2 children throughout their reproductive lives. In the specific case of adolescent fertility, there was a 14.8% decrease, from 96.2 live births per 1000 women aged 15 to 19 years in 2000 to 82.0 in 2023. In 2017, 99.1% of births were attended by skilled birth personnel. Between 2011 and 2018, the percentage of pregnant people who received antenatal care increased from 47.0% to 82.6%.

Figure 4. Infant mortality per 1000 live births, 1995–2018
Figure 5. Maternal mortality per 100 000 live births, 2000–2020

Communicable diseases

In 2021, there were 32 new cases of tuberculosis per 100 000 population in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In 2019, the overall tuberculosis mortality rate (age-adjusted and per 100 000 population) was 2.7 (1.5 in women and 4.2 in men).

In 2020, the estimated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection incidence rate (new diagnoses) was 17.4 per 100 000 population. The age-adjusted mortality rate for HIV was 26.1 per 100 000 population in 2019. It should be noted that during the 2000-2019 period this indicator decreased by 215.6%.

There were no reported cases of human rabies in the country in 2020.

Noncommunicable diseases and risk factors

In 15 and older the prevalence of overweight and obesity was 63.4% in 2016. Also in 2016, 31.4% of the population reported insufficient physical activity.

In 2015, the reported prevalence of arterial hypertension (high blood pressure) among people aged 18 years or older was 18.6%, a decrease of 6.9 percentage points compared to 2000 (25.5%). The prevalence of diabetes mellitus, which stood at 8.8% in 2000, increased to 9.5% in 2014.


In 2019, the adjusted rate of potentially avoidable premature mortality in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) was 337.9 deaths per 100 000 population, a decrease of 2.3% from a rate of 330.2 in 2000. This meant that, in 2019, the rate in the country was 10.4% lower than the average rate reported for the Region of the Americas as a whole. Among potentially avoidable premature mortality, the rate for preventable causes was 124.3 per 100 000 population in 2019, which is 2.1% lower than the regional average rate.

The overall age-adjusted mortality rate was 6.3 per 1000 population in 2019, a decrease of 2.6% compared to 2000 (5.6 deaths per 1000 population).

When deaths are categorized into three main groups, it is observed that, in 2019, the age-adjusted mortality rate from communicable diseases was 102.3 per 100 000 population (116.4 per 100 000 in men and 29.8 per 100 000 in women), while the age-adjusted mortality rate from noncommunicable diseases was 413.8 per 100 000 population (488.3 per 100 000 in men and 355.3 per 100 000 in women). The rate of age-adjusted mortality from external causes was 119.4 per 100 000 population (214.4 per 100 000 in men and 21.3 per 100 000 in women). In 2000, the percentage distribution of causes was 63.6% for noncommunicable diseases, 16% for communicable diseases, and 20.3% for external causes; in 2019, the percentages were 65.1%, 15.6%, y 19.4%, respectively (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Proportional mortality in Venezuela, 2000 and 2019

Cancer mortality

Regarding cancer mortality from tumors, in 2019, the adjusted mortality rate from prostate cancer was 25.5 per 100 000 men; lung cancer, 16.0 per 100 000; and colorectal cancer, 7.7 per 100 000. In women, these values were 16.8 deaths per 100 000 for breast cancer, 11.4 per 100 000 for lung cancer, and 7.1 per 100 000 for colorectal cancer.

The health situation and the COVID-19 pandemic

During 2020, in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) there were a total of 113 121 cases of COVID-19, which represents 3992.9 per million inhabitants. In 2021, the identified cases amounted to 331 290, which is equivalent to 11 693.7 per million inhabitants. Regarding deaths directly caused by COVID-19, in 2020 there were 1025 deaths of persons diagnosed with COVID-19, or 36.2 per million population, while in 2021, 4299 were reported, representing 151.7 deaths per million population. In the Region of the Americas, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) ranked 39th in terms of the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in 2020, while by 2021 it ranked 48th, with a cumulative figure for both years of 188 deaths per million inhabitants (Figure 7).

According to World Health Organization estimates, total excess deaths in 2020 amounted to 3642 cases, or 12.8 per 100,000 population. By 2021, 18 684 deaths were estimated, representing an excess mortality of 66 per 100 000 population.

As of July 2, 2022 (date of the latest available data), 49.8% of the population had a complete COVID-19 vaccination schedule.

Figure 7. Cumulative COVID-19 deaths in the Region of the Americas, to July 29th, 2023

The sources of the interagency indicators used in this profile can be found in this table.

For the latest data on health indicators for the Region of the Americas, be sure to visit the PAHO Core Indicators portal.