Assessing Educational Differentials in Healthy Life Years among Women and Men in 16 European Populations

Markus Sauerberg , Federal Institute for Population Research

In the light of ageing populations, researchers and policy makers are concerned, whether gained life years are spent primarily in good or poor health. For this reason, monitoring trends in healthy life years (HLY) as an addition to the classic life expectancy measure has become of great importance. However, populations do not experience trends in HLY uniformly and especially socioeconomic differences are closely related to disparities. Due to data restrictions and comparability issues, the assessment of socioeconomic differences in HLY across Europe remains largely unexplored. With this paper, we want to close this research gap by estimating HLY for educational subpopulations in 16 European countries. We constructed life tables by educational attainment from life expectancy at age x estimates provided by EUROSTAT. Individuals are defined as healthy based on the Global Activity Limitation Indicator (GALI) obtained from EU-SILC. We calculated HLY using a Markov chain with "rewards" model and the Sullivan method in order to take into account both, uncertainty and variability in the estimates. Our preliminary results suggest that higher educated individuals can expect to live more healthy life years in all 16 countries. The stochasticity in healthy life is greater than the uncertainity in the estimates. Further, gender differences in HLY are strongly affected by the level of educational attainment. The female advantage in HLY is particularly pronounced in the low-educated group and loses importance among higher-educated population share.

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 Presented in Session 81. Global and Comparative Perspectives on Health and Mortality