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Karla Gärtner (2000)

The Life Expectancy Survey of the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB): Concept and First Results*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 25, 2/2000, p. 217-234, Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich, ISSN: 0340-2398

In 1998, the Federal Institute for Population Research commissioned I+G Gesundheitsforschung (Health Research) (previous name: Infratest Epidemiology and Health Research) in the context of its project "Lifestyles and Their Influence on Health and Life Expectancy" to carry out a survey entitled "Life + Health in Germany". The first National Health Survey was carried out between 1984 and 1986 under the same name. This survey was a major element of the German Heart Circulation Prevention Study. In later years, there were more surveys on this group of topics, which included the new Federal states for the first time in 1991/92. All these surveys were cross-sectional, each of which was based on a new representative random sample, incorporating medical examinations in some cases.

The working areas of the Federal Institute for Population Research are however not in the medical field, so that the new survey was indeed intended to have a different focus. On the basis of previous results from mortality research and questions as to the general health of a rapidly ageing population, the focus was to be on factors which might impact life expectancy in general, and specifically also "healthy life expectancy", in other words so-called "active life expectancy". For this reason, the occasion to carry out the survey of the Federal Institute for Population Research as a repeat survey of the individuals interviewed in the earlier surveys was gladly taken up. For western Germany, the basis used for the survey was the 1984/86 survey, since in this case the number of respondents was the largest, and it was also possible due the relatively long time intervall to gain sufficient information regarding the already deceased.

The 1991/92 survey was used as a basis for eastern Germany. Regarding the specific research interests of the Federal Institute for Population Research, the initial questionnaires were slightly modified, with purely medical details being removed and replaced by questions on general living conditions and family situations. Furthermore, the number of respondents was restricted to those born in 1952 and earlier.

This article is concerned with the concept of the project and its analysis strategy, as well as with the structure of the available data material. Finally, some first results are presented.

* Original title: Der Lebenserwartungssurvey des BiB: Konzeption und erste Ergebnisse (full text in German only)

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