Alternative measures of average life span, by socio-economic position in England and Wales: a 30 years comparison
PHE ePoster Library. Butt A. Sep 12, 2017; 186629; 180
Mr. Asim Butt
Mr. Asim Butt
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Abstract Life expectancy at birth (mean age at death) is well understood and widely used to inform population ageing, relevant to health and social care provision, extending working lives and setting pensions policies. However, because of improvement in mortality at younger ages, usage of the mean age at death has limitations. The median and modal ages at death have emerged as alternative measures of longevity. This research used all three measures to compare the size of the socioeconomic inequality over a thirty year period using NS-SEC classes. Data from the ONS longitudinal study was applied to a Chiang abridged life table closed at 95+. The median and mode were approximated using the formula for grouped data, based on expected deaths available from the life table.Across all three measures, age at death improved markedly across all NS-SEC classes for men and women alike; however, the mode showed the strongest improvement for men in Routine class. For instance, the Routine class modal age at death for men improved by 9.2 years (75.2 to 84.4 years) between 1982-86 and 2007-11; the median age at death increased by 5.83 years (73.5 to 79.3 years) and mean age at death by 5.80 years (70.8 to 76.6 years). This shows most routine men died between ages 84 and 85, and half the cohort was still alive at age 79.3, somewhat higher than their life expectancy. As deaths are concentrating at older ages the modal and median age at death adds value to the traditional longevity measure.
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