Postcommunist Transition and Changes in Mortality in Poland
Agnieszka Fihel, University of Warsaw
On the eve of the postcommunist transition, after three decades of stagnation or regress, life expectancies in many countries of Central Europe started to increase rapidly and systematically. Poland, one of the most populous countries in the region, witnessed a sudden shift in the mortality trend relatively early, that is in 1992. Since then the life expectancy has been increasing considerably for both sexes, reaching 71 years for men and 80 years for women in 2008. This paper presents the most significant tendencies in mortality which allowed for this extension of life expectancy, with special reference to causes of death. On the basis of the single cause-of-death time series restored for the period 1970-2008, the crucial importance of diseases of the circulatory system for the recent mortality developments is proven. The analysis of single disease entities also indicates the significance of changes in the state’s health care system and in individual attitudes towards one’s health.