Current Trends in European and Middle Eastern Mortality

Current Trends in European and Middle Eastern Mortality

Current Trends in European and Middle Eastern Mortality Jon Anson Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel Visiting Fellow, Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, Brussels, Belgium Symposium on Mortality Past and Present: Celebrating the 350th Anniversary

of the publication of John Graunts Bills of Mortality, Gresham College, Barnard's Inn Hall, Holborn, City of London, EC1N 2HH, Thursday November 29th 2012 Outline Life expectancy at birth increased by over 50 years since Graunt, infant mortality down to one per cent of earlier level

Western Europe continuous improvement since mid-19th century. Elsewhere story not always so hopeful Need to distinguish mortality at young ages from mortality in mid-adulthood. Eastern Europe young age mortality declined, mid-adulthood male mortality in crisis Arab League countries three different patterns Gulf States: male mortality at West European level. Female

mortality a little higher. Age patterns similar to W. Europe Mediterranean basin mortality slightly higher, pattern similar Afro-Arabian countries (second line) mortality stalled at levels of early 20th century Europe Survivorship Curves and Life Expectancy

The Life Table (and life expectancy) Advantages 1. Free of population structure, built up from age-specific mortality rates (mx) 2. Sorts populations by

average level of mortality 3. Good index of mortality decline, and of social development Disadvantages 1. Strictly synthetic,

time- specific 2. Can be misleading, people die over very broad age range, modal age at death usually above e0 3. e0 is NOT the

average age at Long Term Trends in Life Expectancy Life Expectancy Trends in Western Europe since 1950 Europe

Mortality Divergence in midAdulthood Mortality Curves Survivorship Curves Partial Life expectancies, Ages 0 to 15 a. Western Europe

b: Eastern Europe Adulthood a: Western Europe b: Eastern Europe

Why ages 35 to 60 (mid adulthood)? At young ages major causes: Infancy Disease Accidents Natural level of mortality in given environment.

Longevity potential of the population Mortality curve declines, rises to plateau then rises into old age. As rises growth in mature causes Cancer Heart and circulatory When does mortality begin to rise?

Why mid-adulthood? Rise in mortality linked to behaviours in response to and in interaction with environment Premature / preventable vs. delayed deaths Not just physical response to environment, also psychological,

Hope and despair Sense of coherence - view of life as: Comprehensible Manageable Meaningful So mortality in mid adulthood is degree of realisation of the

potential seen at young ages The States of the Arab Middle East Source:http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/02/arab_league_map Mortality Trends in the Arab Middle East, 1990-2009

a: Life expectancy at birth b: Partial life expectancies Ages 0 to 15 Ages 35 to 60 Life Expectancies in the Regions,

2009 Males Females Conclusion Life table big step forward in social science

provides universal standard for comparing levels of mortality over time and space Western Europe consistent decline since middle of 19th century. Late 20th century convergence, very little variation Eastern Europe increase for women, for men only in last decade. No convergence, distinguish East

Europe from ex-Soviet Union Arab Middle East: distinguish Gulf states > Med basin > second line African states Conclusion II Distinguish mortality at young ages (potential) from middle ages (realisation)

Crisis in East Europe is crisis of middle-age men. Potential increasing, realisation decreasing, particularly in ex-SU Major feature of Arab states: small gender gap = low life expectancy of women. Advances in W. Europe highlight tragedy of other countries Africa south of Mediterranean coast states, mortality unchanged 20 years, at level of early 20th century Europe

East Europe, particularly ex-Soviet Union Mortality is a social phenomenon. Social collapse reflected in mortality crises

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