Life Expectancy and Lifespan Variation by Educational Attainment in Mexico: How Large Is the Gap?

Jesús Zazueta Borboa , Netherlands Interdisciplinary demographic Institute
Margherita Moretti, Sapienza Università di Roma
Serena Vigezzi, Ined
Jose Manuel Aburto, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Mexico has experienced a rapid improvement in the standard of living of its population. Life expectancy increased substantially, together with urbanisation and public investment. Literacy levels soared, as education spread to almost the entire population. Yet, since the start of the 21st century, Mexico has also experienced a sharp increase in homicide rates because of the so-called “war on drugs”, which led to decrease and stagnation in male and female life expectancy. Such trends, however, hide substantial inequalities, which cut across a number of dimensions, from income to education itself. In fact, such inequalities also appear in mortality trends: lifespan variation, a measure of inequality in the timing of death, is higher in Mexico than in most Latin American countries. In this work we present an analysis of the relationship between educational attainment and lifespan variation, a point of view never before adopted to consider contemporary Mexico. We use public Mexican data to calculate male and female life expectancy for different educational groups and to measure lifespan variation within these groups. Our preliminary results show that the Mexican population experienced trends in life expectancy and lifespan variation that are not entirely similar to those found for other countries. In fact, the differences between educational groups suggest that the recent period of exceptional violence in Mexico should indeed be taken into account for analysis of mortality.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality