Sociocultural mortality differentials in Lithuania: results obtained by matching vital records with the 2001 census data
Population: English Edition, 62:4, 597–646 (2007)
Demographers have long been aware that death rates calculated using statistics derived from vital records (the deceased person’s status reported at the time of death by the proxy informant) as numerator and from census reports as denominator do not always give a reliable measurement of sociocultural mortality differences, notably on account of frequent discrepancies between these two sources. The solution adopted in France in the 1960s and since used in many developed countries involves linking individual data from both sources, in such a way that the content of the sociocultural categories is established from one and the same type of information. The results show the existence of sharp mortality differentials between social classes (education, marital status, ethnicity, and urban-rural place of residence) in Lithuania. In sum, the sociocultural mortality differences are generated mostly by cardiovascular diseases on the one hand, and by social pathologies (alcoholism, smoking, and violent deaths) on the other. The observed differences are already large when the variables analysed are considered separately, notably for educational level and marital status though also for sex, but they assume gigantic proportions when combinations of variables are compared, so much so that 26 years separate the life expectancies at age 30 between the two extreme deciles. This study constitute a timely addition to our understanding of social inequalities in Europe essential for monitoring the effects of public health policies.
Keywords: Lithuania, differential mortality