International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 773–783 | Cite as

Spatial variations and macroeconomic determinants of life expectancy and mortality rate in China: a county-level study based on spatial analysis models

  • Shaobin WangEmail author
  • Zhoupeng Ren
Original article



The life expectancy and mortality rate always exhibit remarkable spatial variations. Their spatial distribution patterns and economic determinants in China were explored.


Four indexes including lifespan expectancy at birth (LEB), infant mortality rate (IMR), under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) and crude mortality rate (CMR) at county level in China were calculated. The spatial distribution patterns of these indexes were illustrated. Meanwhile, spatial regressive model was applied to explore the relations between major macroeconomic determinants and these indexes.


Spatial dependence of these four indexes in China was identified, and the positive spatial autocorrelation indicated a clustering feature rather than stochastic distribution. Additionally, local Moran’s I statistics revealed opposite local spatial clusters of LEB and IMR, U5MR in China, that LEB showed that high value clusters in the southwest and low value clusters in the eastern part and northern Xinjiang, and IMR/U5MR exhibited that low value clusters in the east and high value clusters in the west. The spatial regression revealed that income per capita influenced positively on LEB and CMR, and GDP per capita was associated positively with IMR and U5MR.


Geographical factors should be highly considered, and the L–L LEB or H–H IMR/U5MR clustered areas need to be integrated as a whole to formulate public health and economic development plans.


Life expectancy at birth Infant and childhood mortality rate Spatial distribution patterns Macroeconomic determinants China 



Supports for this research were provided by the Open foundation of Key Laboratory of Coal Resources Exploration and Comprehensive Utilization, Ministry of Land and Resources, P. R. China (Grant No. KF2018-7) and the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (Grant No. 41502329). The authors express their gratitude for data support from “National Earth System Science Data Sharing Infrastructure, National Science & Technology Infrastructure of China (” and data calculation assistance from Dr. Y.J. Du and Dr. Y.L. Liu.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that this research involved no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article is based on a secondary analysis of administrative data and does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

38_2019_1251_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resource ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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