The case for monitoring lifespan inequality

The case for monitoring lifespan inequality


Human population health is generally monitored by average mortality levels, typically in terms of life expectancies or age-standardised death rates, which mask substantial variation in length of life. Variation in ages at death, captured by a metric of lifespan inequality, should be used to supplement measures of average longevity when comparing or monitoring societies and population subgroups. Although lifespan inequality has historically been strongly inversely correlated with life expectancy, we are beginning to see this relationship reversed, resulting in positive correlation in some countries or subnational populations. Often these changes reflect midlife mortality crises with roots in stratified education and wealth. In this talk I will present empirical examples from around the developed world, pressing the case to monitor lifespan inequality.


Alyson van Raalte is a demographer with a PhD in public health from Erasmus University Rotterdam. She leads the research project LIFEINEQ at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, funded by a starting grant from the European Research Council. Her research interests are mortality inequalities, and gaining a deeper understanding of the age patterning of mortality.

Date & time

Tue 10 Mar 2020, 11:30am to 12:30pm


Jean Martin Room, Beryl Rawson Bldg #13, Ellery Circuit, ANU


Dr Alyson van Raalte, Max Planck Institute for Demography Research


Susan Cowan


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