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This paper deals with spatial aspects of trends in life expectancy at birth in the French metropolitan departements over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Data from the censuses conducted from 1833 to 1982 were used to calculate the life expectancy at birth for both sexes togheter, . The overall fertility index (I-f), marital fertility index (I-g) and nuptiality index (I-m) were also calculated for each 5-year period within the same time span. The analysis has two facets: a first, descriptive part in which we establish clusters of departements with similar or different patterns of evolution over the period above mentioned; and a second part in which the effect of covariables in changes in are examined. In addition their coefficients were interpreted including the direct and spatial spillover effects. Unlike earlier studies, in which a spatio-temporal analysis was performed, the time function showing changes in is reduced to a single value which measures the distance or affinity between the functions of time in each departement, which enables us to carry out an exploratory spatial data analysis and apply spatial econometric models.
life expectancy; spatial autocorrelation; exploratory spatial data analysis; spatial regression