Well-off people live longer in good health

28/11/2012 15:00

Men and women from high-income households on average live about 8 and 7 years longer respectively than their counterparts in low-income households. The difference with respect to the number of years lived in good health is even higher, i.e. nearly 18 years for both genders.

Higher income brackets have higher life expectancy

The average life expectancy for men was 79.2 years in 2011 versus 82.9 years for women. Life expectancy at birth for men living in the lowest income group was 74.4 years versus nearly 82.5 years for men in the highest income bracket. The life expectancy gap for women in the lowest versus the highest income group was nearly 7 years. 

Life expectancy at birth by income level, 2011

Life expectancy at birth by income level, 2011

More years in good health

People with high incomes life longer, but can also expect to live more years in good health. The average life expectancy in good health at birth for men in the lowest income category was 53.4 years, as against 71.1 years for men in the highest income group. The corresponding figures for women were 53.2 and 71.1 years respectively, i.e. also a gap of approximately 18 years.

Healthy life expectancy at birth, 2008/2011*

Healthy life expectancy at birth, 2008/2011*

More years in good mental health…

Well-off people also spend more years in a state of good mental health. The gap between the average life expectancy in good mental health between men in the lowest and highest income brackets was 16 years (63.4 versus 79.4 years) and for women nearly 14 years (65.7 versus 79.5 years).

Life expectancy in good mental health at birth, 2008/2011*

Life expectancy in good mental health at birth, 2008/2011*

.. and without limitations or chronic diseases

On average, life expectancy without limitations is nearly 13 years higher for men and women in the highest income category than for men and women in the lowest income category. Men in the highest income category on average can expect to live 10 years longer without chronic diseases than men in the lowest income category. The corresponding figure for women is more than 7 years.

Kim Knoops and Marion van den Brakel