IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Life Expectancy in Ireland since the 1870s


  • Brendan Walsh


This paper reviews the historical evidence on Irish life expectancy. Although much of the material is broadly familiar, attention is drawn to some lesser-known aspects. These include the reliability of the civil registration data and its implications for measuring life expectancy; the variation in the rate of improvement in life expectancy over the sub-periods between 1871 and 2011; and plausible reasons for it. In recent decades as much as three quarters of longevity gains has been attributable to falling age-specific death rates among the elderly. Given that further reductions in mortality rates among the elderly may be increasingly difficult to deliver, the overall gains in life expectancy in the coming decades may not match those recorded during the first half of the twentieth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Brendan Walsh, 2017. "Life Expectancy in Ireland since the 1870s," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 48(2), pages 127-143.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:48:y:2017:i:2:p:127-143

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert J. Gordon, 2016. "The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10544.
    2. Delaney, Liam & McGovern, Mark & Smith, James P., 2011. "From Angela's ashes to the Celtic tiger: Early life conditions and adult health in Ireland," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-10, January.
    3. Robert J. Gordon, 2016. "Perspectives on The Rise and Fall of American Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 72-76, May.
    4. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    5. Hall, M., 2013. "Mortality in Ireland 1901 to 2006," British Actuarial Journal, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 436-451, July.
    6. Mark E. McGovern, 2016. "Progress and the Lack of Progress in Addressing Infant Health and Infant Health Inequalities in Ireland during the 20th Century," Economics Working Papers 16-05, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cormac Ó Gráda & Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, 2022. "The Irish economy during the century after partition," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(2), pages 336-370, May.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro & Cha, Myung Soo, "undated". "Living Standards, Inequality, and Human Development since 1870 : a Review of Evidence," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 28438, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    2. Bryan Kelly & Dimitris Papanikolaou & Amit Seru & Matt Taddy, 2021. "Measuring Technological Innovation over the Long Run," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 303-320, September.
    3. Erik Berglof, 2016. "European Industrial Policy — Tapping the Full Growth Potential of the EU," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 51(6), pages 335-340, November.
    4. Robert J. Shiller, 2017. "Narrative Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 967-1004, April.
    5. Nicholas Crafts & Pieter Woltjer, 2021. "Growth Accounting In Economic History: Findings, Lessons And New Directions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 670-696, July.
    6. Archibugi, Daniele & Filippetti, Andrea, 2018. "The retreat of public research and its adverse consequences on innovation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 97-111.
    7. Chad Syverson, 2017. "Challenges to Mismeasurement Explanations for the US Productivity Slowdown," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 165-186, Spring.
    8. Cavalleri, Maria Chiara & Eliet, Alice & McAdam, Peter & Petroulakis, Filippos & Soares, Ana & Vansteenkiste, Isabel, 2019. "Concentration, market power and dynamism in the euro area," Working Paper Series 2253, European Central Bank.
    9. Callaghan, Christian William, 2021. "Growth contributions of technological change: Is there a burden of knowledge effect?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 172(C).
    10. V. S. Vasiliev, 2018. "The Deterioration of Reproduction Conditions in the U.S. Economy," Outlines of global transformations: politics, economics, law, Center for Crisis Society Studies.
    11. Yingying Lu & Yixiao Zhou, 2021. "A review on the economics of artificial intelligence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 1045-1072, September.
    12. Magnus Reif & Mewael F. Tesfaselassie & Maik H. Wolters, 2021. "Technological Growth and Hours in the Long Run: Theory and Evidence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(352), pages 1016-1053, October.
    13. Bahram Adrangi & Hannah Baade & Kambiz Raffiee, 2019. "Dynamic Responses of the Economy to Monetary Shocks in the United Kingdom," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 15, pages 31-45, February.
    14. Charles Bean, 2018. "Central Banking after the Great Recession," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(1), pages 2-15, February.
    15. Daniel Gallardo‐Albarrán & Robert Inklaar, 2021. "The Role Of Capital And Productivity In Accounting For Income Differences Since 1913," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 952-974, July.
    16. John C. Williams, 2017. "From Sustained Recovery to Sustainable Growth: What a Difference Four Years Makes. Speech to the Forecasters Club , New York, New York, March 29, 2017," Speech 174, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    17. Goodhart, Charles, 2018. "Central bank policies in recent years," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88078, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Thomsen, Stephan L, 2018. "Die Rolle der Computerisierung und Digitalisierung für Beschäftigung und Einkommen," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-645, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    19. Adolfo Meisel-Roca & Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2018. "Más de cien años de avances en el nivel de vida: El caso de Colombia," Cuadernos de Historia Económica 46, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    20. Taner Akan & Aycan Hepsağ & Şeref Bozoklu, 2022. "Explaining U.S. economic growth performance by macroeconomic governance, 1952–2018," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 32(5), pages 1437-1465, November.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:48:y:2017:i:2:p:127-143. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Aedin Doris (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.