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How old is old? Revising the definition based on life table criteria

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  • Frank Denton
  • Byron Spencer

Abstract

Sixty-five has long been thought of as the point of entry into “old age.”; We propose a number of life table criteria for answering the following questions: If 65 was considered appropriate four decades ago, what is the corresponding age today? If 65 was (implicitly) a male-oriented definition four decades ago, as we believe it was, what would have been the appropriate definition for women at that time, and what is it today? We address these questions by applying our criteria to Canada, using 1951 and 1991 life tables, but the criteria could be applied equally well to other countries. For other developed countries we would expect broadly similar results.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Denton & Byron Spencer, 1999. "How old is old? Revising the definition based on life table criteria," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 147-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:mpopst:v:7:y:1999:i:2:p:147-159 DOI: 10.1080/08898489909525452
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    Cited by:

    1. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1998. "Economic Costs of Population Aging," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 339, McMaster University.
    2. Mason, Thomas & Sutton, Matt & Whittaker, William & Birch, Stephen, 2015. "Exploring the limitations of age-based models for health care planning," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 11-19.
    3. Frank T. Denton & Christine H. Feaver & Byron G. Spencer, 2002. "Alternative Pasts, Possible Futures: A "What If" Study of the Effects of Fertility on the Canadian Population and Labour Force," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(3), pages 443-459, September.
    4. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1999. "Population Aging and Its Economic Costs: A Survey of the Issues and Evidence," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 340, McMaster University.
    5. Lynn McDonald, 1997. "The Link between Social Research and Social Policy Options: Reverse Retirement as a Case in Point," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 23(s1), pages 90-113, Spring.
    6. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 2000. "Some Demographic Consequences of Revising the Definition of 'Old' to Reflect Future Changes in Life Table Probabilities," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 352, McMaster University.
    7. Victor W. Marshall & Joanne Gard Marshall, 1996. "Aging and Work in Canada: Firm Policies," Independence and Economic Security of the Older Population Research Papers 7, McMaster University.
    8. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1998. "Economic Costs of Population Aging," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 339, McMaster University.
    9. F.T. Denton & B.G. Spencer, 1996. "Population Aging and the Maintenance of Social Support Systems," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 320, McMaster University.
    10. Maxim S. Finkelstein, 2003. "Age correspondence for different mortality regimes with and without the change point," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Definition of old; life table criteria;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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