Lifespan Inequality in Denmark, Sweden and Norway: How Long until Denmark Reduces the Gap?

Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen, MaxO, University of Southern Denmark
James W. Vaupel, Max-Planck Odense Center, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
José Manuel Aburto, MaxO, University of Southern Denmark
Maarten Wensink, MaxO, University of Southern Denmark

Low lifespan tends to go with high lifespan inequality. We find that stagnation in lifespan of Danish women (roughly 1975-1995) was accompanied by a similar albeit shorter period of stagnation in lifespan inequality. Cause-specifically, we find that this stagnation results largely from death from cancers and non-infectious respiratory diseases, offsetting continuous improvement in cardiovascular mortality. Before and after stagnation, life expectancy increased as disparity decreased, as the cardiovascular revolution unfolded. Comparing Denmark and its Scandinavian counterparts, we find that as Norway increasingly came to resemble Sweden in terms of high life expectancy, it also came to resemble Sweden in terms of low lifespan inequality. Next, we aim to make similar decompositions for Sweden and Norway, and aim to disentangle cohort effects from the question: what can Denmark do now to increase lifespan to Swedish-Norwegian levels?

Presented in Session 1196: Mortality and Longevity