Cause-specific Mortality in France and in the Former FRG, 1950-95

Similarities and Differences
By Benoît Haudidier, Catriona Dutreuilh


Despite a general convergence of mortality patterns in western Europe, major differences still exist between certain countries. Thus, the comparison between the former FRG and France shows that the structure of age-specific mortality has undergone a markedly different evolution.
The phenomenon is due to strongly diverging trends in the main causes of death. Thus, cardiovascular mortality has evolved much more favourably in France than in the former FRG over the period, whereas the former FRG has held an advantage since 1970 for mortality from violent causes and infectious diseases.
Major sex differentials in mortality between the two countries are also observed for degenerative pathologies (cardiovascular disease and cancers) and cirrhoses. These differences of level and trends reflect the greater similarity of male and female lifestyles — notably with respect to alcohol consumption and smoking — in northern than in southern Europe. More generally, they illustrate the cultural resistance of the German and French populations to the growing uniformity of living conditions.

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