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

Population and Societies

544, May 2017

Following the division of the country in 1949, life expectancy in East and West Germany diverged. Markéta Pechholdová and her colleagues 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.

After diverging when Germany was divided into two separate states, life expectancies in the two parts of the country have converged since reunification. While eastern men have not fully caught up with their western counterparts, eastern Germany is closing the life expectancy gap thanks to improvements in the health system and changes in individual behaviours.

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