Uncovering a German Success Story: Low State-Level Inequalities in Mortality Despite Large Spatial Variation in Social Conditions

Pavel Grigoriev, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Sebastian Kl├╝sener, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Anna Oksuzyan, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Alyson van Raalte, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Germany experiences considerable disparities in structural unemployment and living conditions between its federal states. As such, we expected to find comparatively high state-level inequalities in life expectancy, driven by midlife mortality, as has been found in the United States and elsewhere. Until now, the patterning of long term state-level trends in mortality was not available, or of a poor quality because of a lack of data harmonization and substantial numerator/denominator biases. Here we present the first results of state-level mortality from a carefully reconstructed and harmonized regional database using Human Mortality Database methods. Surprisingly we find that state-level inequalities in life expectancy are low by international standards, and falling among women while stable and moderate among men. Insights from the German example of low and converging spatial mortality inequalities can demonstrate how massive sociopolitical change and long-term economic differences do not need to translate into large regional disparities in mortality.

Presented in Session 47: Spatial Analysis of Mortality