International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 439–448 | Cite as

Individual- and area-level effects on mortality risk in Germany, both East and West, among male Germans aged 65+

Original Article



This study investigates whether mortality inequalities based on individual- and area-level deprivation exist at older ages in Germany, and whether there are differences between eastern and western Germany.


Data on population and death counts according to the individual-level socioeconomic status of male German pensioners aged 65+ years in Germany in 2002–2004 were obtained from the German Federal Pension Fund. Area-level characteristics for the 439 German districts were incorporated. Multilevel Poisson models were fitted.


Individual-level socioeconomic mortality inequalities exist among elderly men in Germany. After controlling for differential population composition in the districts, we found that district-level factors contribute to the explanation of mortality inequalities in (western) Germany. The analysis further indicated that mortality and mortality inequalities tend to be higher in more economically deprived districts, and that minor mortality differences attributable to regional conditions exist in eastern Germany.


The results showed that regional conditions have moderate effects on health inequalities at older ages in (western) Germany, when the differential population composition in the districts is controlled for.


Mortality Old age Multilevel Germany Socioeconomic status Inequality 



The author thanks the organizers and participants of the workshop “Explaining Health Inequalities: The Role of Space and Time” (June 25-27, 2012; Bielefeld, Germany), and in particular Sven Voigtländer for helpful comments on this study. Support from the staff of the research data center of the German Federal Pension Fund Support and from Miriam Hils in language editing is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Research Centre, Faculty of Spatial ScienceUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Healthy Ageing: Population and Society (HAPS)University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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