Have life expectancies in eastern and western Germany converged since reunification?

Press release Published on 15 May 2017

Population and Societies n° 544, May 2017

Authors: Markéta Pechholdová, Pavel Grigoriev, France Meslé, Jacques Vallin

Following the division of Germany in 1949, life expectancies in East and West diverged. Markéta Pechholdová, Pavel Grigoriev, France Meslé and Jacques Vallin compare trends in mortality by cause in the two parts of Germany to explain the factors behind this divergence and the new trends observed since reunification.

From 1949 to 1989, Germany was divided into two separate states.  Despite faster economic development in West than in East Germany, life expectancies did not begin to diverge until the mid-1970s. In 1990, the year of reunification, the life expectancy gap was at its widest, with a difference of 3.4 years for men and 2.8 years for women.  A period of convergence then began, and by 2013, the gap was just 1.3 years for men and had practically disappeared for women (0.17 years).


Released on: 17/05/2017