Changing life expectancy in central europe: Is there a single reason?

Laurent Chenet, Martin McKee*, Naomi Fulop, Ferenc Bojan, Helmut Brand, Angela Hort, Pawel Kalbarczyk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: During the 1980s, at a time that life expectancy at birth in western Europe has increased by 2.5 years, it has stagnated or, for some groups, declined in the former socialist countries of central and eastern Europe. Methods: A study was carried out to ascertain the contribution of deaths at different age groups and from different causes to changes in life expectancy at birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland between 1979 and 1990. Results: Improvements in infant mortality have been counteracted by deteriorating death rates among young and middle-aged people, with the deterioration commencing as young as late childhood in Hungary but in the thirties or forties in Czechoslovakia and Poland. The leading contributors to this deterioration are cancer and circulatory disease but, in Hungary, cirrhosis and accidents have also been of great importance. Conclusions: The patterns observed in each country differ in the age groups affected and the causes of death. Further work is required to explain these differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-336
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health (United Kingdom)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Czechoslovakia
  • Hungary
  • mortality
  • Poland


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