Research Group

Lifespan Inequalities

Why ages at death vary between countries and socioeconomic groups.

© photocase: MeCanon, sol-b, TRUELIGHT-NOW / photocase.com

Normally, demographers compare the health of populations by looking at average outcomes, for instance the life expectancy at birth. But life expectancy only gives an incomplete picture of population health, as it doesn’t disclose how ages at death are distributed within population groups or countries. For this we need to compare the variability or inequality in ages at death within populations. Larger inequalities in ages at death mean greater uncertainty in the timing of death. This uncertainty creates difficulties in planning and funding the life course, for both individuals and societies. The research group "Lifespan Inequalities", financed by the European Research Council, examines these inequalities in ages at death and their progression in contemporary developed countries.Detailed description


Selected Publications

Jdanov, D. A.; Shkolnikov, V. M.; van Raalte, A. A.; Andreev, E. M.: Decomposing current mortality differences into initial differences and differences in trends: the contour decomposition method, Demography (2017).

Seaman, R.,  Leyland,A. H., Popham, F.: How have trends in lifespan variation changed since 1950? A comparative study of 17 Western European countries, Eur J Public Health (2016)

van Raalte, A. A.; Martikainen, P.; Myrskylä, M.:Lifespan variation by occupational class: compression or stagnation over time?, Demography 51:1, 73-95 (2014).

van Raalte, A. A.; Caswell, H.: Perturbation analysis of indices of lifespan variability, Demography 50:5, 1615-1640 (2013).

van Raalte, A. A.; Kunst, A. E.; Deboosere, P.; Leinsalu, M.; Lundberg, O.; Martikainen, P.; Strand, B. H.; Artnik, B.; Wojtnyniak, B.; Mackenbach, J. P.: More variation in lifespan in lower educated groups: evidence from 10 European countries, International Journal of Epidemiology 40:6, 1703-1714 (2011).

Vaupel, J. W.; Zhang, Z.; van Raalte, A. A.: Life expectancy and disparity: an international comparison of life table data, BMJ Open 1:1, e000128-e000128 (2011).



Phone +49 (0)381 2081-139
Papenhagen, Ute
Phone +49 (0)381 2081-270