How universal is the relationship between life expectancy and the causes of death that matter most? Variation in the epidemiologic transition based on 70 years of historical mortality data
Nikkil Sudharsanan1, José Manuel Aburto2, Timothy Riffe3, Alyson van Raalte3
1Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, 2University of Oxford, 3Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The epidemiologic transition is the main theory of global mortality change and is at the heart of demography and population health. However, the theory was formulated based on estimates from a select number of countries and it remains unclear how universal the transitions actually are across countries. We provide a re-examination of the epidemiologic transition theory using historical mortality data from 20 countries spanning the years 1950 to 2017. Based on preliminary results, we find that the epidemiologic transition is far from universal, even among a relatively small set of now high-income countries. While the broad stylized facts of the relationship between life expectancy and causes of death are consistent across countries, we observe a tremendous amount of variation beyond these stylized facts, structured strongly by sex and geographical region. Our next steps will be to understand the sources of this variation and ultimately characterize mortality change into distinct profiles.