Trends in life expectancy by education in Norway 1961–2009
- 876 Downloads
Educational attainment and longevity are strongly related. Large population studies covering long periods to provide evidence of trends in educational inequalities regarding life expectancy are scarce though, especially prior to the 1980s. Our objective was to document changes in life expectancy by education in Norway in the period 1961–2009, and to determine whether the patterns differ between sexes. This is a register-based population study of all Norwegian residents over 34 years, with data from the National Central Population Registry and the National Education Database. For each calendar year during 1961–2009, death rates by 1 year age groups were calculated separately for each sex and three educational categories (primary, secondary and tertiary). Annual life tables were used to calculate life expectancy at age 35 (e 35 ) and survival probability for the three age-intervals 35–44, 45–64, and 65–90. All education groups increased their e 35 over time, but inequalities in e 35 between tertiary and primary educational categories widened 5.3 years for men and 3.2 years for women during the study period. The probability for women with primary education to survive to age 64 did not improve from 1961 to 2009. The gain in life expectancy lagged about 10 years in lower compared to higher education groups which might suggest that improvements in life sustaining factors reach different segments of the population at different times. The widening of the gap seems to have partly tapered off over the last two decades, and the changes in life expectancy should be followed carefully in the future to document the development.
KeywordsTrend Life expectancy Survival probability Education Inequalities
We would like to thank Statistics Norway for providing us with data and Cassie Trewin for language editing and valuable comments on the manuscript. This study was funded by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Oslo and approved by the Norwegian Data Inspectorate. The funders had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; writing of the report; or the decision to submit the article for publication.
Conflict of interest
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
Data linkage was approved by the Norwegian Data Inspectorate and data handling was approved by the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
- 1.Marmot Review. Fair society, healthy lives: strategic review of health inequalities in England post 2010. London: Marmot Review; 2010.Google Scholar
- 3.Valkonen T. The widening differentials in adult mortality by socio-economic status and their causes. In: Chamie J, Cliquet RL, editors. Issues of global concern. Proceedings of the symposium on “health and mortality”, Brussels 1997. Leuven: Flemish Scientific Institute; 1999. pp. 291–312.Google Scholar
- 7.Statistics Norway. www.ssb.no/english/. Oslo; 2012.
- 9.Chiang C. The life table and its applications. Florida: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company; 1984.Google Scholar
- 10.National Institute of Public Health. http://www.norgeshelsa.no/norgeshelsa/?language=en. Oslo; 2012.
- 11.Report of the Advisory committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. PHS Publication No. 1103. Washington DC: US Public Health Service; 1964.Google Scholar
- 12.Act No.14 of 9 March 1973 relating to Prevention of the Harmful Effects of Tobacco. Oslo; 2010.Google Scholar
- 14.Report no 32 to the Storting (1975–1976) on Norwegian Nutrition and Food Policy. Oslo: Royal Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture; 1976.Google Scholar
- 16.Link BG, Phelan J. Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. J Health Soc Behav. 1995; Spec No: 80–94.Google Scholar
- 17.van Doorslaer E, Wagstaff A, van der Burg H, Christiansen T, De Graeve D, Duchesne I, Gerdtham UG, Gerfin M, Geurts J, Gross L, Hakkinen U, John J, Klavus J, Leu RE, Nolan B, O’Donnell O, Propper C, Puffer F, Schellhorn M, Sundberg G, Winkelhake O. Equity in the delivery of health care in Europe and the US. J Health Econ. 2000;19:553–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 20.Gjonca A, Tomassini C, Toson B, Smallwood S. Sex differences in mortality, a comparison of the United Kingdom and other developed countries. Health Stat Q. 2005;26:6–16.Google Scholar
- 23.Lund M, Lindbak R. Norwegian tobacco statistics 1973–2006. Oslo: SIRUS—Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research; 2007. Report No.: 3.Google Scholar
- 24.Cavelaars AE, Kunst AE, Geurts JJ, Crialesi R, Grotvedt L, Helmert U, Lahelma E, Lundberg O, Matheson J, Mielck A, Rasmussen NK, Regidor E, do Rosario-Giraldes M, Spuhler T, Mackenbach JP. Educational differences in smoking: international comparison. BMJ. 2000;320:1102–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 25.Elstad JI, Torstensrud R, Lyngstad TH, Kravdal O. Trends in educational inequalities in mortality, seven types of cancers, Norway 1971–2002. Eur J Public Health. 2011. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr181
- 29.Hattersley L. Expectation of life by social class. , 73–82. 1997. London, The Stationery Office. Health Inequalities. Decennial Supplement. Drever, F and Whitehead, M. Ref Type: Serial (Book,Monograph).Google Scholar
- 30.Hattersley L. Trends in life expectancy by social class—an update. Health Stat Q. 1999;2:16–24.Google Scholar
- 33.Borrell C, Azlor E, Rodriguez-Sanz M, Puigpinos R, Cano-Serral G, Pasarin MI, Martinez JM, Benach J, Muntaner C. Trends in socioeconomic mortality inequalities in a southern European urban setting at the turn of the 21st century. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2008;62:258–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar