Old-Age Mortality in Germany prior to and after Reunification
Recent trends in German life expectancy show a considerable increase. Most of this increase has resulted from decreasing mortality at older ages. Patterns of oldest old mortality (ages 80+) differed significantly between men and women as well as between East and West Germany. While West German oldest old mortality decreased since the mid 1970s, comparable decreases in East Germany did not become evident until the late 1980s. Yet, the East German mortality decline accelerated after German reunification in 1990, particularly among East German females, attesting to the plasticity of human life expectancy and the importance of late life events. Medical care, individual economic resources and life-style factors are discussed as potential determinants of the decline in old age mortality in Germany.
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