MPIDR Working Paper

To what extent do rising mortality inequalities by education and marital status attenuate the general mortality decline? The case of Finland in 1971-2030

Shkolnikov, V. M., Andreev, E. M., Jdanov, D. A., Jasilionis, D., Valkonen, T.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2009-018, 27 pages (June 2009).
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Keywords: Finland, differential mortality, education, marital status


This study examines the relationship between growing inequality within the population, and the general mortality decline in Finland after 1971. The general mortality trend is considered as a simultaneous shift of population groups toward lower mortality over time, with the group-specific mortality rates linked to the mortality trend in the best practice (vanguard) group. The inequality measure accounting for all groups and their population weights reveals increases in both relative and absolute mortality inequalities. Changes in population composition by education and by marital status tend to compensate each other and the combined change does not produce significant effect on the total mortality. The widening of mortality inequalities produces important impact on the total mortality trend. The modeling allows to quantify this impact. If mortality inequalities remained frozen after 2000, the total mortality in 2026-30 would be by about one quarter lower compared to trend-based expectations.