Variations

Some leading causes of variations in mortality and morbidity include sex, income, residence, season, and disease profile. Separate tables are usually calculated for each sex because of differences in male and female experience, which are partly biological and partly environmental in origin. Figure IV.4.4 shows two forms of this variation by exhibiting mortality curves for men and women in Sweden during 1816-40 and 1979-83. In recent centuries male mortality has exceeded female mortality at most ages, a characteristic that seems to suggest a biological advantage for the latter (Verbrugge 1985).

Socioeconomic status is another well-recognized cause of variation in mortality. Wealthier members of a population, in the aggregate, face lower health risks, although the causation appears to operate in

1,000 600 400

1 10

ot 2

Figure IV.4.4. Mortality schedules for Sweden, 1816-40 and 1979-83. (From Sundbarg 1970; Statistisk arsbok for Sverige 1986.)

both directions: Greater wealth is partly an effect of lower health risks and partly a cause.

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