Cause specific mortality convergence and divergence tendencies among selected European countries: methods of analysis and current trends of development

Pavel Zimmermann, University of Economics, Prague (VSE)
Klara Hulikova Tesarkova, Charles University in Prague
Dan Kašpar, Charles University in Prague

Analysis of mortality convergence and divergence tendencies could be taken almost as an independent field of study in demography. However, the overall mortality trends could differ from the trends according to various causes of death, i.e. also the convergence tendencies could be different for the overall mortality level and mortality from various causes. The aim of the paper is to analyze the main convergence and divergence tendencies in mortality from various causes of death among the European countries in the context of the overall mortality convergence/divergence pattern in Europe. Data for years 1959–2009 from the Human Mortality Database were used for the overall mortality convergence analysis. Data for cause-specific analysis were extracted from WHO Mortality Database. Analysis included only the time period of the 10th revision of International Classification of Diseases. Mortality convergence (to other countries) according to various causes of death was studied for the case of the Czech Republic (case study). The results confirm that the convergence/divergence pattern of mortality in Europe is not unique for all the causes of death. Cardiovascular mortality decrease is observable nearly in all the analyzed countries (with the exception of Poland for females and Hungary for males). In case of external causes and neoplasms the analyzed group of countries showed to be nearly homogeneous. In case of neoplasms, the Czech Republic manifests a convergence tendency to Portugal, Spain, Sweden or Norway, divergence is observed for males (from Belgium or France). For the external causes, there occurred an exceptional situation of Spain and Italy, where there is a strong divergence tendency from the Czech Republic in case of males. The cause-specific mortality convergence analysis helped to reveal various different developmental trends in Europe. Knowledge of these tendencies could help us to better understand and estimate also the future mortality development in Europe.

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Presented in Poster Session 3