Trends in Life Expectancy and Lifespan Variation by Level of Education in Europe and the USA

Alyson A. Van Raalte , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR)
Rosie Seaman, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
José Rubio Valverde, Erasmus MC
Isaac Sasson, Tel Aviv University
Wilma Nusselder, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam
Johan P. Mackenbach, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam

In Finland, Denmark, Spain and the USA, lifespan variation has increased among the most disadvantaged socioeconomic groups while declining among the most advantaged groups. This has occurred despite increases in life expectancy for all groups, except in the USA. Currently it is unknown if such trends are unique to the aforementioned countries or are ubiquitous across Europe. In this study we examine trends in life expectancy and lifespan variation for around a dozen countries or regions in Europe and the USA, covering between two to five decades depending on the population. We find that widening differentials in lifespan variation is a fixture of almost all European countries and the USA, particularly when using an absolute measure of lifespan variation. Trends in lifespan variation are increasingly becoming divorced from trends in life expectancy. This furthers the argument that we should be monitoring both metrics for a full picture of population health.

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 Presented in Session 13. Mortality and Longevity