Study on life expectancy: Why some are older than others

poverty may have an impact on health and therefore on life expectancy. That in itself is not a new finding. However, a study now on what that means. In Germany

Study on life expectancy: Why some are older than others

poverty may have an impact on health and therefore on life expectancy. That in itself is not a new finding. However, a study now on what that means. In Germany you have Roland Rau, Professor of demography at the University of Rostock and Max Planck Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for demographic research, and Carl Schmertmann, Professor of Economics at Florida State University.

Anna Vollmer


F. A. Z.

With a new statistical method, the random fluctuations in areas with lower population excludes density largely, have studied circles the two, the life expectancy in each country. Because, as they write in their study published in the "medical journal", local estimates are crucial in order to identify "marginalized areas". The results are on the one hand surprising, and on the other hand again. Because in the more prosperous South of Germany, people live on average longer. In women, the spread between the expectation of life is in Germany in nearly four years, with men slightly more than five. Women in the district of Starnberg, South of Munich, are the oldest on average and 85.7 years. Women in the salzland district, Saxony-Anhalt, with an average of 81.8 years, the lowest life expectancy. For men, the highest life expectancy at 81.2 years, is found in the district of Munich, the lowest 75.8 years in Bremerhaven.

infographic In the South, they are living longer – life expectancy in Germany Enlarge

Surprisingly, Roland Rau finds that some of the factors that one could presume that they have played an influence on the life expectancy, not too big of a role. So population density, average income and number of Doctors per 100,000 inhabitants is correlated not very pronounced and life expectancy. If people in the countryside or in the city lived, had an impact not necessarily on their life expectancy. Those who live in East Germany on the country have a lower average life expectancy than East German citizens, says Rau. In the West it was but not so. Here it is closer to cities such as Essen, Duisburg and Gelsenkirchen, which had a lower life expectancy.

deprivation has an impact

A stronger correlation the researchers observed between lower life expectancy and extremely vulnerable layers of the population. Between lower life expectancy and the fact that people receive Hartz IV or there is more child poverty, there was a greater correlation to. This does not mean, however, that between the two things necessary in a causal way, there had to be connection: "We have collected the data at the County level. And you can't close the circles on individuals,“ says Rau.

The scientist finds the results "disillusioning". Because studies showed that socio-economic differences in life expectancy only played in countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States, but also in those that were relevant for their social policy in Denmark or Sweden. The study by the scientists of the now also for Germany suggest. Even wealthy provinces such as Bavaria, were not homogeneous, says Rau, also here there are differences: In the districts of the North-East of Bavaria, the life expectancy is also relatively low.

to work Around these regional differences have Rough and Schmertmann worked for two years to their statistical model. Because the Problem is often that in areas with a low population density of coincidences fell more and more weight. "It is as if you throw a coin: If the fall of ten times twice on a page, then you may not conclude that the probabilities are distributed in such a way. The more often you toss the coin, the more accurate it will be,“ says Rau. Figures from a County like Berlin, therefore, be significantly more accurate than those from a rural area. To compensate, have to let famous data in the evaluation included: "We know that women are older than men. If that's not in a circle of the case, we can assume that this is probably a coincidence,“ says Rau. The more data you have, the less the weight of prior knowledge and, on the other hand.

Date Of Update: 01 August 2020, 09:19