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Changes in Life Expectancy and Disability-Free Life Expectancy in the United States

Eileen M. Crimmins, Yasuhiko Saito and Dominique Ingegneri
Population and Development Review
Vol. 15, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 235-267
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1973704
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1973704
Page Count: 33
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Changes in Life Expectancy and Disability-Free Life Expectancy in the United States
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Abstract

This article compares changes in total life expectancy with changes in disability-free life expectancy between 1970 and 1980 in the United States. Over the decade life expectancy at birth increased by about three years for both males and females. Whether this increase is concentrated in disabled or healthy years depends on the definition of disability. If disability includes all the days on which ill health causes people to change their activity, then most of this increase was in years with disability. If disability is limited only to days spent in bed or in an institution, most of the increase in life expectancy is disability free. Up to age 85, the increased years of life are in years with a long-term disability that limits individuals' participation in normal activities but does not confine them to bed. Above age 85, a major portion of the increase in life expectancy is accounted for by increased years of institutionalization.

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