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Convergences and divergences in mortality


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  • FFF1Jacques NNN1Vallin

    (Institut national d´études démographiques (INED))

  • FFF2France NNN2Meslé

    (Institut national d´études démographiques (INED))


Abdel Omran's 1971 theory of "Epidemiologic Transition" was the first attempt to account for the extraordinary advances in health care made in industrialized countries since the 18th century. In the framework of the Demographic Transition, it implied a general convergence of life expectancies toward a limit imposed by the new epidemiological features of modern societies. However, important failures, occurred in the past decades (mainly the health crisis in Eastern Europe and AIDS in Africa), seem to have stopped that process of convergence. In fact such failures do not really contradict the theory. The latter is much more ruined by the unexpected dramatic improvement in the field of cardiovascular disease experienced since the seventies, which results in a new step of a more general process. On the basis of the broader concept of “Health Transition†initiated by Julio Frenk et al., the present paper tries to rethink the full process in term of divergence/convergence sequences inferred by successive major changes in health technologies and strategies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research Special Collections.

Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 11-44

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Handle: RePEc:dem:drspec:v:2:y:2004:i:2

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Keywords: cause of death; demographic convergences; epidemiologic transition; health transition; mortality; mortality trends;

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  1. Roland Pressat, 1985. "Contribution des écarts de mortalité par âge à la différence des vies moyennes," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 40(04-mai), pages 766-770.
  2. J.w. Vaupel, 2001. "Demographic Insights into Longevity," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 13(1), pages 245-258.
  3. Eduardo Arriaga, 1984. "Measuring and explaining the change in life expectancies," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 83-96, February.
  4. Jacques Vallin, 1968. "La mortalité dans les pays du Tiers Monde : évolution et perspectives," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 23(5), pages 845-868.
  5. Elisabetta Barbi & Graziella Caselli & Jacques Vallin, 2003. "Trajectories of Extreme Survival in Heterogeneous Populations," Population (english edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 58(1), pages 43-66.
  6. D.s. Judge & J.r. Carey, 2001. "Principles of Biodemography with special reference to Human Longevity," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 13(1), pages 9-40.
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Cited by:
  1. Géraldine Duthé & Gilles Pison, 2008. "Adult mortality in a rural area of Senegal," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(37), pages 1419-1434, August.
  2. Rodrigo Reis Soares, 2006. "On the determinants of mortality reductions in the developing world," Textos para discussão 529, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  3. Hansen, Casper Worm, 2011. "The diffusion of health technologies: Cultural and biological divergence," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 6/2011, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.
  4. L. Daniel Staetsky, 2009. "Diverging trends in female old-age mortality: A reappraisal," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 21(30), pages 885-914, December.
  5. Marie-Hélène Lussier & Robert Bourbeau & Robert Choinière, 2008. "Does the recent evolution of Canadian mortality agree with the epidemiologic transition theory?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 18(19), pages 531-568, June.
  6. Martin Gächter & Engelbert Theurl, 2010. "Convergence of the Health Status at the Local Level: Empirical Evidence from Austria," NRN working papers 2010-09, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  7. Elisabetta Barbi, 2008. "Regularities and deviations in mortality trends of the developed world," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2008-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  8. Nataliia Levchuk, 2009. "Alcohol and mortality in Ukraine," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  9. Vladimir M. Shkolnikov & Evgueni M. Andreev & Zhen Zhang & James E. Oeppen & James W. Vaupel, 2009. "Losses of expected lifetime in the US and other developed countries: methods and empirical analyses," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-042, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.


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