lifespan inequality, lifespan disparity, Gini coefficient, Covid-19


If there is a decline in mortality, it is mainly in younger age groups. As a result, more and more deaths are occurring in older age groups. In advanced societies, therefore, people are becoming “more equal in the face of death”. A sharp increase in mortality, such as that caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, affects different age groups of the population to different degrees. It is therefore relevant to study the change in inequality of life expectancy under the conditions of a sudden shock. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the inequality of lifespan variation in Ukraine in 2020—2021 and to compare it with countries with different levels of mortality.

Previous studies of lifespan variation specifically devoted to Ukraine, or those that used data for Ukraine, were conducted or related to the pre-Covid period. The novelty of this work is the study of the behaviour of indicators characterising the inequality of lifespan before and during the two years of the epidemic, for which data are available. The demographic me t hod for constructing life tables and statistical methods for calculating lifespan variation indicators were used. Those are: Gini coefficient, average inter-individual difference in length of life, lifespan disparity, entropy of the life table, standard deviation of age at death, coefficient of variation. These indicators were calculated for the period 1989—2021 for Ukraine, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Japan, and England and Wales. It was confirmed that life expectancy is generally inversely related to inequality in the life table. It was found that this rule can be violated during mortality shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic. It is shown that male life expectancy and lifespan inequality in Ukraine decreased in 2020—2021. Average inter-individual difference in length of life and lifespan disparity have decreased by 6.6—6.9 %. On the other hand, almost all indicators of inequality for women have increased. The life expectancy elasticity indicator (entropy of the life table) turned out to be the most sensitive, increasing to 4.9 %. At the same time, it is interesting to note that the standard deviation of age at death for women in Ukraine decreased by 1.8 %. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected inequality depending on sex and the country’s pre-Covid level. Inequality indicators in Japan have hardly changed. Inequality rates rose in Spain and Sweden before returning to their previous downward trend. Available data for England and Wales suggest a continued slow trend towards greater inequality.


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Author Biography

Pavlo Shevchuk, Ptoukha Institute for Demography and Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

PhD (Economics), Leading scientist




How to Cite

Shevchuk, P. (2023). INEQUALITY IN THE FACE OF DEATH UNDER COVID-19 IN UKRAINE. Demography and Social Economy, 52(2), 40–53.



Demographic Processes