This chapter examines what the author calls “the final inequality”—the variance in the age at death. While it is well known that life expectancy at birth and life expectancy conditional on age ten or age twenty has increased in almost every country of the world, what is less well known is what has happened to the inequality of the age of death. This chapter studies what happened in Sweden between 1950 and 2000. Over this fifty-year period, life expectancy at birth grew by 12 percent and remaining life expectancy, conditional on reaching age sixty-five, grew by 33 percent. This chapter then examines death inequality in a variety of large developed countries (Canada, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, and the United States) and finds that, once again, the United States stands out as exceptional. The United States has the highest level of inequality of the age of death of all of these countries. The chapter also includes a brief analysis of life expectancy and inequality for Americans with different levels of education and income.
Keywords: final inequality; age at adult death; mortality change; risk factors; economic analyses; pattern of adult death; socioeconomic inequalities; education; income
Chapter. 5888 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
Full text: subscription required