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

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


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 - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Results were based on calculations by Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands using non-public microdata from Statistics Netherlands. Under certain conditions, these microdata are accessible for statistical and scientific research. For further information: microdata@cbs.nl. In addition, aggregate data were used from 5 European countries. The underlying country-specific datasets are not publicly available but are accessible through the authors under certain conditions. Mortality data for other countries have been collected as part of the LIFEPATH project, which has received financial support from the European Commission (Horizon 2020 grant number 633666), and as part of the DEMETRIQ project, which also received support from the European Commission (grant number FP7-CP-FP grant no. 278511). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. We thank Henrik Brønnum-Hansen, Patrick Pekka Martikainen, Matthias Bopp, Patrick Deboosere and Heine Strand for providing data for their countries. The mortality data for Switzerland were obtained from the Swiss National Cohort, which is based on mortality and census data provided by the Federal Statistical Office and supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant nos. 3347CO-108806, 33CS30_134273 and 33CS30_148415).

Funding Information:
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).


Dive into the research topics of 'Future trends of life expectancy by education in the Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this