Geografie 2019, 124, 365-383

Regional health inequalities explained: empirical evidence from Czechia

Aleš Bělohradský1,2, Daniela Glocker3

1Charles University, Faculty of Science, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Prague, Czechia
2Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czechia
3Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, France

Received October 2018
Accepted September 2019

Health outcomes in Central and Eastern Europe have been generally improving over the last two decades. However, in Czechia, similar to other countries, the outcomes vary significantly across the regional dimension. In 2016, life expectancy at birth ranged from between 75.5 to 80 years – across 77 districts. This article empirically analyses the determinants of these differences using a wide range of explanatory variables that are available on a district level. Applying factor analysis, our findings indicate that the socio-economic situation within a district is the main driver – explaining a difference of up to four years in life expectancy at birth. Further, controlling for gender specific variables, the results suggest that for men alcohol consumption significantly reduces life expectancy. Both factors capturing the socio-economic situation and alcohol consumption exceed the impact of health care accessibility or environmental causes on life expectancy. The results remain robust when using more disaggregated information on 206 administrative districts – per geographic scale.


This work has been also supported by Charles University Research Centre program UNCE/HUM/018.


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