Impact of Changes Related to Living Arrangements on the Mortality of Older Adults: Belgium 1991-2012

Michel Poulain , Tallinn University (TLU) / Universite catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)
Anne Herm, Tallinn University

The distribution of older people in various living arrangements has changed, and that old-age mortality differs by living arrangements. The aim of this study is to differentiate the effects of the change in the distribution of the population and in the mortality risks associated with each type of living arrangement on mortality. Continuous observation of the population 60 years of age and older for the period 1991?2012 based on Belgian national register data provides a unique opportunity to analyse the effects of the change in the distribution of the population and in mortality risks by living arrangements. A simple decomposition method is used to examine to what extent these two changes have influenced mortality. The distribution of the population by living arrangements changed in both absolute and relative numbers. The age-standardised mortality rates by living arrangements also changed: the situation of those living with their spouse or partner improved while that of individuals living in collective households worsened. The overall effects of the changes on the total number of deaths offset each other, whereas the distribution of the number of deaths by living arrangements displays a large variation. This study highlights the long-term trends in population and mortality risks by living arrangements in older age. It shows that despite the limited change in the total number of deaths, these two factors had an important and divergent impact on the distribution of the last living arrangement before death.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course