Geographical mortality differentials determined by socio-economic environment at the beginning of the 21st century: the case of Hungary

Péter E. Józan, Hungarian Central Statistical Office
László G. Radnóti, Hungarian Central Statistical Office

Description and method 1. Hungary has no substantial differences in features of physical environment. Geographical mortality differentials map socio-economic mortality differentials. 2. Area mortality differentials have been studied under these circumstances. Two approaches have been applied: a) measures of mortality in the observation units were compared since the collapse of the formal socio-economic regime; b) mortality differentials were investigated in four levels of observational units. 3. Mortality measures were the dependent variables, GDP per capita and alternatively gross income per capita and proportion of people with tertier educational attainment were the independent variables. Results - mortality increases and life expectancy at birth decreases along a west-east axis; - if the population size of settlements smaller, life expectancy at birth lower; - there is significant correlation between life expectancy at birth and proportion of people with tertier educational attainment and GDP per capita/gross income per capita; - life expectancy at birth has increased in every observational unit over the period between the early 1990s and the first years of the 21st century, however the increase has been larger in the more developed observational units; - the gap in terms of life expectancy at birth has mainly increased between the more and less developed observational units. Conclusions There are winners and relative losers in transition and globalisation. Well educated people live almost exclusively in larger towns and cities and more in the traditionally better developed western part of the country. Less educated people, usually unskilled ones live mainly in small villages and more in the less developed, eastern part of the country. Geographical mortality differentials reveal the dichotomy in the country in terms of socio-economic status and life expectancy at birth. In a scrutinized approach a clear-cut gradient in different kinds of geographical mortality can be found by socio-economic stratification.

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Presented in Session 97: Geography of Mortality