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Educational inequalities in health expectancy during the financial crisis in Denmark

International Journal of Public Health

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To investigate educational differentials in health expectancy among 50-year-old Danes before and during the financial crisis.


Nationwide register data on mortality were combined with data from SHARE surveys in 2006/2007 and 2010/2011 to estimate disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) and expected lifetime in self-rated good health by educational level.


The difference in life expectancy between 50-year-old men and women with high and low educational levels increased by 0.3 and 0.8 years, respectively. The overall educational differentials in DFLE did not change much for women, whereas for men the tendency was that DFLE increased for those with high educational level and decreased for those with less education ascending the difference by almost 2 years (from 5.9 to 7.8 years), although the difference was not statistically significant. The educational disparity in expected lifetime in self-rated good health increased by 1.3 years for men and 1.2 years for women.


The social inequality in DFLE for men and expected lifetime in self-rated good health for both genders increased slightly during the short period. The financial crisis did not seem to indicate a change in the persistent trend of the widening social gap.

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Correspondence to Henrik Brønnum-Hansen.

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The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, No 211909, SHARE-LEAP, No 227822 and SHARE M4, No 261982). See for a full list of funding institutions.

The contribution of HBH was financed by a grant from the Danish Health and Medicines Authority.

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Brønnum-Hansen, H., Baadsgaard, M., Eriksen, M.L. et al. Educational inequalities in health expectancy during the financial crisis in Denmark. Int J Public Health 60, 927–935 (2015).

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