Volume 26 - Article 19 | Pages 489–510  

Changes in educational differentials in old-age mortality in Finland and Sweden between 1971-1975 and 1996-2000

By Virginia Zarulli, Domantas Jasilionis, Dmitri Jdanov


Background: The majority of the studies on developed countries confirm that socioeconomic mortality inequalities have been persisting or even widening. It has also been suggested that inequalities have been becoming increasingly important for old ages.

Objective: In this study we systematically assess the direction and magnitude of changes in mortality differences at old ages in Sweden and Finland over the period 1971 to 2000.

Methods: The vast majority of the findings on mortality differentials rely on life table or aggregated mortality measures. However, conventional mean lifespan (life expectancy) hides important characteristics of the distribution of lifespan. Modal age at death and measures of disparity provide additional important insights on longevity, especially when focusing on mortality and survival at old ages. In this paper we use high quality census-linked data and both conventional life expectancy and distribution of life span measures.

Results: We found that the educational gap in life expectancy at age 65 and the total amount of mortality inequality by education, as reflected by average inter-group difference, increased in both countries. With the exception of Swedish females, the corresponding gap in modal age at death decreased.

Conclusions: Although the results suggest that the life expectancy gap is largely explained by differential mortality due to cardiovascular system diseases, the role of other causes of death (especially cancers) has also increased.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Estimates of mortality and population changes in England and Wales over the two World Wars
Volume 13 - Article 16

Divergent trends in lifespan variation during mortality crises
Volume 46 - Article 11

Onset of the old-age gender gap in survival
Volume 42 - Article 25

Socio-economic determinants of divorce in Lithuania: Evidence from register-based census-linked data
Volume 33 - Article 30

Explaining the rural-urban gap in infant mortality in India
Volume 29 - Article 18

Official population statistics and the Human Mortality Database estimates of populations aged 80+ in Germany and nine other European countries
Volume 13 - Article 14

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Geographic proximity to siblings in older adulthood
Volume 49 - Article 7    | Keywords: geographical proximity, older adults, population, register data, Sweden

Educational reproduction in Sweden: A replication of Skopek and Leopold 2020 using Swedish data
Volume 48 - Article 25    | Keywords: differential fertility, education, prospective models, reproduction, social mobility, Sweden

A register-based account of period trends in union prevalence, entries, and exits by educational level for men and women in Finland
Volume 48 - Article 14    | Keywords: cohabitation, divorce, education, Finland, marriage, register data, trends, union dissolution

Adolescent fertility and high school completion in Chile: Exploring gender differences
Volume 47 - Article 31    | Keywords: adolescent fertility, Chile, education, gender, Latin America, propensity score, selectivity

Women's economic empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from cross-national population data
Volume 47 - Article 15    | Keywords: agency, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), economic growth, education, employment, sub-Saharan Africa, women's economic independence