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Health expectancy by level of education in Finland


  • Valkonen, Tapani
  • Sihvonen, Ari-Pekka
  • Lahelma, Eero


Using the method first presented by Sullivan, the article presents results on health expectancy by level of education and gender in the late 1980s in Finland. The life tables by level of education cover the years 1986-1990. Indicators of disability and poor health were based on three variables from the nationwide 1986 Survey on Living Conditions (N = 12,057): limiting long-standing illness, functional disability and poor self-perceived health. Two cutting points indicating different levels of severity of disability or poor health were used for each measure, giving six dichotomous indicators. Disability-free life expectancy and life expectancy with disability were found to depend strongly on the indicator of disability, but the patterns of differences both between genders and between educational categories were largely independent of the indicators used. Life expectancy as well as disability-free life expectancy showed a systematic relationship with level of education: the higher the level of education, the higher the life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy. The differences between educational categories in disability-free life expectancy were markedly larger than in total life expectancy. Life expectancy with disability was shortest among the more educated and longest among the less educated. Due to the higher life expectancy and the higher prevalence of disability among women, life expectancy with disability was longer among women than men according to all indicators.

Suggested Citation

  • Valkonen, Tapani & Sihvonen, Ari-Pekka & Lahelma, Eero, 1997. "Health expectancy by level of education in Finland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 801-808, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:44:y:1997:i:6:p:801-808

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    Cited by:

    1. Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Jousilahti, Pekka & Uutela, Antti, 2008. "The physical strenuousness of work is slightly associated with an upward trend in the BMI," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(6), pages 1346-1355, March.
    2. Virginia Zarulli & Domantas Jasilionis & Dmitri A. Jdanov, 2012. "Changes in educational differentials in old-age mortality in Finland and Sweden between 1971-1975 and 1996-2000," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(19), pages 489-510, May.
    3. repec:eee:socmed:v:188:y:2017:i:c:p:191-200 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Matthews, Ruth J. & Jagger, Carol & Hancock, Ruth M., 2006. "Does socio-economic advantage lead to a longer, healthier old age?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(10), pages 2489-2499, May.
    5. Martinez-Sanchez, Eva & Gutierrez-Fisac, Juan L. & Gispert, Rosa & Regidor, Enrique, 2001. "Educational differences in health expectancy in Madrid and Barcelona," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 227-231, March.
    6. Mäki, Netta & Martikainen, Pekka & Eikemo, Terje & Menvielle, Gwenn & Lundberg, Olle & Östergren, Olof & Jasilionis, Domantas & Mackenbach, Johan P., 2013. "Educational differences in disability-free life expectancy: a comparative study of long-standing activity limitation in eight European countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-8.
    7. Vanessa Yong & Yasuhiko Saito, 2009. "Trends in healthy life expectancy in Japan: 1986 - 2004," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 20(19), pages 467-494, April.


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