Life Expectancy with and without Cognitive Impairment Among Older Americans: Differences By Race/Ethnicity and Educational Level

Mikko Myrskylä, London School of Economics and Political Science
Neil Mehta, University of Michigan
Jo Mhairi Hale, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Daniel Schneider, MPIDR

Life expectancy for Americans has been increasing, but little is known about life expectancy with and without cognitive impairment. Understanding the average age at onset and expected number of years lived with cognitive impairment has clear implications at individual and societal levels, such as for retirement planning and pension systems. As important risk factors, race/ethnicity and educational attainment will likely be salient to age at onset and number of years spent in an impaired state. We use data from the Health and Retirement Survey (2000-2014) to calculate mean age at first incidence of cognitive impairment and expectancies for non-, mild, and severe impairment by race/ethnicity and educational attainment. Conditional on surviving to age 50, we find White women and men spend approximately 14% of their remaining lives cognitively impaired; whereas, Blacks and Latinas spend approximately 30% and Latinos 23%. Moreover, lower-educated Blacks and Latinx spend more than two times longer than their White counterparts, approximately fifteen years, cognitively impaired.

Presented in Session 1173: Health, Wellbeing, and Morbidity