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Subjective length of life of European individuals at older ages: Temporal and gender distinctions

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  • Dimiter Philipov
  • Sergei Scherbov

Abstract

This paper examines how older individuals living in 9 European countries evaluate their chances of survival. We use survey data for the years 2004 and 2015 to construct population-level gender-specific subjective length of life (or subjective life expectancy) in people between 60 and 90 years of age. Using a specially designed statistical approach based on survival analysis, we compare people's estimated subjective life expectancies with those actually observed. We find subjective life expectancies to be lower than actual life expectancies for both genders in 2004. In 2015 men become more realistic in the sense that their subjective life expectancy is close to what was actually observed, while women retain their subjective expectations of a shorter than actual life expectancy. These results help to better understand how people might construct diverse decisions related to their remaining life course.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimiter Philipov & Sergei Scherbov, 2020. "Subjective length of life of European individuals at older ages: Temporal and gender distinctions," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(3), pages 1-14, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0229975
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229975
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Brigitte Dormont & Anne-Laure Samson & Marc Fleurbaey & Stéphane Luchini & Erik Schokkaert, 2018. "Individual Uncertainty About Longevity," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(5), pages 1829-1854, October.
    7. Herman Oyen & Wilma Nusselder & Carol Jagger & Petra Kolip & Emmanuelle Cambois & Jean-Marie Robine, 2013. "Gender differences in healthy life years within the EU: an exploration of the “health–survival” paradox," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 58(1), pages 143-155, February.
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    9. Adeline Delavande & Susann Rohwedder, 2011. "Differential Survival in Europe and the United States: Estimates Based on Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1377-1400, November.
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