Future trends of life expectancy by education in the Netherlands

Wilma J. Nusselder*, Anja M.B. De Waegenaere, Bertrand Melenberg, Pintao Lyu, Jose R. Rubio Valverde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: National projections of life expectancy are made periodically by statistical offices or actuarial societies in Europe and are widely used, amongst others for reforms of pension systems. However, these projections may not provide a good estimate of the future trends in life expectancy of different social-economic groups. The objective of this study is to provide insight in future trends in life expectancies for low, mid and high educated men and women living in the Netherlands. METHODS: We used a three-layer Li and Lee model with data from neighboring countries to complement Dutch time series. RESULTS: Our results point at further increases of life expectancy between age 35 and 85 and of remaining life expectancy at age 35 and age 65, for all education groups in the Netherlands. The projected increase in life expectancy is slightly larger among the high educated than among the low educated. Life expectancy of low educated women, particularly between age 35 and 85, shows the smallest projected increase. Our results also suggest that inequalities in life expectancies between high and low educated will be similar or slightly increasing between 2018 and 2048. We see no indication of a decline in inequality between the life expectancy of the low and high educated. CONCLUSIONS: The educational inequalities in life expectancy are expected to persist or slightly increase for both men and women. The persistence and possible increase of inequalities in life expectancy between the educational groups may cause equity concerns of increases in pension age that are equal among all socio-economic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1664
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

This study was conducted as part of the project “Longer life, longer in good health, working longer? Implications of educational differences for the pension system”, which has received financial support from Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement (Netspar).

Publisher Copyright: © 2022. The Author(s).


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