Of leaders and losers - old age mortality paradoxes

Karin Modig, Karolinska Institutet
Sven Drefahl, Stockholm University
Anders Ahlbom, Karolinska Institutet

Statistics on Swedish mortality is considered to be of the highest quality and can be followed for more than 250 years back in time. For most of this time Sweden has been among the leading countries in terms of life expectancy; in the beginning of the 1970s Sweden was the country where both women and men enjoyed the world’s longest life expectancy. While life expectancy continues to be high and increasing, Sweden has been losing ground in relation to other leading countries, especially at older ages. This study investigates Sweden's world rank in remaining life expectancy using data from the Human Mortality Database. The analyses show that in 2009, Sweden had the 10-highest life expectancy at birth for women and the 6-highest for men, however old-age mortality is among the worst of all countries in the Human Mortality Database. For men, Sweden ranks 24th out of 34 countries for remaining life expectancy at age 90 and 30th out of 34 countries at age 95. For women, Sweden ranks 20th out of 34 countries for remaining life expectancy at age 90 and 25th of 34 at age 95. We compare the Swedish pattern with other countries and found similar decreases for other countries with high quality data. The results are discussed in the light of different hypotheses.

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Presented in Session 15: Longevity advances and their determinants