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Life Expectancy in Ireland since the 1870s

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  • Brendan Walsh

Abstract

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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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, December.
    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. 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.
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    Keywords

    life expectancy; Ireland; history;

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