Abstract

Sweden is known for high life expectancy and economic egalitarianism, yet in recent decades it has lost ground in both respects. This study tracked income inequality in old-age life expectancy and life span variation in Sweden between 2006 and 2015, and examined whether patterns varied across levels of neighborhood deprivation. Income inequality in remaining life expectancy at ages 65, 75, and 85 increased. The gap in life expectancy at age 65 grew by more than a year between the lowest and the highest income quartiles, for both men (from 3.4 years in 2006 to 4.5 years in 2015) and women (from 2.3 to 3.4 years). This widening income gap in old-age life expectancy was driven by different rates of mortality improvement: individuals with higher incomes increased their life expectancy at a faster rate than did those with lower incomes. Women with the lowest incomes experienced no improvement in old-age life expectancy. Furthermore, life span variation increased in the lowest income quartile, while it decreased slightly among those in the highest quartile. Income was found to be a stronger determinant of old-age life expectancy than neighborhood deprivation.

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Supplementary data