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Life expectancy at birth has increased substantially at the global scale over recent decades, but the improvements have not been experienced equally across all countries – in large part reflecting changes in economic and social situations. To identify the spatial variations in life expectancy at birth across a large number of countries over a 33-year period, this paper provides an expository account of a developing modelling methodology for the analysis of spatio-temporal trajectories. It identifies broad patterns of change and simultaneously examines between- and within-country variation to assess the degree to which patterns of life expectancy are becoming more or less similar at national and sub-national scales.

Keywords: Longitudinal analysis; latent group-base trajectory modelling; life expectancy at birth; random effect modelling

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: (Corresponding author) Department of Primary Care and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London W6 8RP, UK., Email: 2: School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SS, UK. s: ;;, Email: 3: Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London, South Kensington CampusLondon, SW7 2AZ, UK., Email:

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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