How have trends in lifespan variation changed since 1950? A comparative study of 17 Western European countries

Eur J Public Health. 2016 Apr;26(2):360-2. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckv185. Epub 2015 Nov 27.


Lifespan variation adds to life expectancy by measuring the inequality surrounding age of death that a population faces. Countries that tackle premature mortality generally have decreasing lifespan variation but this is the first study to compare and statistically assess when and to what extent trends in lifespan variation have changed across Western Europe. Lifespan variation was measured using e† and joinpoint regression analysed the timing and rate of change. Trends have been mostly downward with the recent exception of men in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Finland where trends have flattened or show slight increases. Future research aimed at identifying the ages and causes of death, driving trends in these countries, is key to preventing increasing inequalities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / trends*
  • Sex Distribution