Persistent social inequality in life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy: Outlook for a differential pension age in Denmark?

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Aims: The state old-age pension in Denmark increases to keep pace with the projected increase in average life expectancy (LE) without any regard to the social gap in LE and expected lifetime in good health. The purpose of this study was to compare changes in LE and disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) between groups of Danes with high, medium and low levels of education. Methods: Nationwide register data on education and mortality were combined with data from the Surveys of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) surveys in 2006–2007, 2010–2011 and 2013–2014 and the DFLE by educational level was estimated by Sullivan’s method for each of these three time points. Results: Between 2006–2007 and 2013–2014, LE among 65-year-old men and women with a low educational level increased by 1.3 and 1.0 years, respectively, and by 1.4 and 1.3 years for highly educated men and women. The gap in LE between people with high and low levels of education remained more than 2 years. In 2006–2007, 65-year-old men with a high level of education could expect 3.2 more years without disability than men of the same age with a low level of education. In 2013–2014, the difference was 2.9 years. For women, the results were 3.7 and 3.4 years, respectively. Conclusions: With the persistent social inequality in LE of more than 2 years and the continuous gap between high and low educational groups in DFLE of about 3 years, a differential pension age is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal Public Health
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)459–462
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

ID: 171786679