The Low Mortality of a Learned Society

La faible mortalité d’une société savante
Article

Abstract

This study addresses the mortality of the members of a learned society. Following the literature on the social gradient of mortality, members of a learned society should exhibit much lower death rates than other social groups. We use biographical records from the members of the Austrian Academy of Sciences between 1847 and 2005 and compare their mortality to Austrian life table death rates of the entire population and the population with tertiary education, respectively. We find that the members of the Austrian Academy of Sciences experience far fewer deaths than if they were subject to the average Austrian life table mortality. The mortality differential even persists when comparing to the Austrian population with tertiary education, though to a smaller extent. Moreover, the mortality differential between the members of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Austrian population has widened over time, particularly since the mid-twentieth century.

Keywords

Epidemiological transition Learned societies Longevity Mortality differentials 

Résumé

Cette étude s’intéresse à la mortalité des membres d’une société savante. D’après la littérature sur le gradient social de la mortalité, les membres d’une société savante devraient bénéficier de taux de mortalité beaucoup plus faibles que les autres groupes sociaux. Nous faisons appel aux données biographiques des membres de l’Académie des Sciences Autrichienne entre 1847 et 2005, et comparons leur mortalité à celle de l’ensemble de la population, puis à celle de la couche la plus instruite de la population. Il apparaît que les membres de l’Académie des Sciences ont une mortalité beaucoup plus basse que celle de la population générale. Le différentiel persiste, quoique de manière plus réduite, quand on effectue la comparaison avec la couche la plus instruite de la population. Par ailleurs, l’écart par rapport à l’ensemble de la population s’est agrandi avec le temps, particulièrement depuis le milieu du vingtième siècle.

Mots-clés

Transition épidémiologique Sociétés savantes Longévité Inégalités de mortalité 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vienna Institute of DemographyViennaAustria

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