Mortality Determinants in Western Europe: What Do the SHARE Data Tell Us?

Olga G. Grigorieva, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

It is argued that country-specific factors (behavioral patterns, dietary habits, etc.) play a major role in magnifying the differences in mortality across the countries of Western Europe. Using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data, this study aims at exploring mortality determinants among people aged 50 years and above in ten European countries. In particular, it focuses on the role of health-related factors (limitations in activities, disease duration, etc.) and other risk factors such as smoking and drinking in influencing cross-country and gender variations in mortality levels. The Cox proportional hazards model is applied to estimate the relative risk of death between the first two waves of the survey. The results indicate that disease duration, hospitalization, smoking and drinking are the major factors explaining the cross-country variations in mortality. The gender differences are determined by the presence of limitations in activities, hospitalization, and smoking.

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Presented in Session 60: Adult Mortality