Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Lifecourse socioeconomic position and cohort differences in health expectancy in Australia: a longitudinal cohort study

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Carol Jagger



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license. Background: There is a need to know how changes in health expectancy differ for population subgroups globally. The aim of this study was to estimate 10-year trends in health expectancies by individual markers of socioeconomic position from three points over the lifecourse, evaluating how compression and expansion of morbidity have varied within a national population. Methods: We analysed data from two cohorts of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. The cohorts were followed annually from 2001 to 2007 (n=4720; baseline age range 50–100 years) and 2011 to 2017 (n=6632; baseline age range 50–99 years). Health expectancies were estimated at age 65 years for four outcomes reflecting activity limitations, disability, perceived health, and mental health. Cohort differences were compared by gender, age left school, occupational prestige, and housing tenure. Findings: Women with low socioeconomic position were the only group with no improvements in life expectancy across the two cohorts. Among men with low education and all women gains in life expectancy comprised entirely of years lived with global activity limitations. Compression of years lived with severe-disability, poor self-rated health, and poor mental health was most consistently observed for men and women with high education and home ownership. Occupational prestige did not greatly differentiate cohort differences in health expectancies. Interpretation: Over the past two decades in Australia, social disparities in health expectancies have at least been maintained, and have increased for some outcomes. Equitable gains in health expectancies should be a major public health goal, and will help support sustainable health and social care systems. Funding: Australian Research Council.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tawiah R, Jagger C, Anstey KJ, Kiely KM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Lancet Public Health

Year: 2022

Volume: 7

Issue: 4

Pages: e347-e355

Print publication date: 01/04/2022

Online publication date: 30/03/2022

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 22/04/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2468-2667

Publisher: The Lancet Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00026-3


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name