Health and life expectancy differences: Portugal, Spain, Italy and France

Lidia Tomé, University of Évora
Filipe Ribeiro, University of Évora
Maria Mendes, University of Evora
Isabel Oliveira, ISCTE-IUL

In the 50’s the difference between the life expectancy in Portugal and the mean value in Europe was about 9 years; this discrepancy had gradually narrowed to 2 years in the mid 80’s. Since then, this difference had remained almost the same. We will focus our analysis in this period, after 1980, to get a closer look concerning the differences between Portugal and the other European countries as Spain, Italy and France. The observed differences in life expectancy will be decomposed: in the infant and child mortality, adult mortality and elderly mortality contributions. These specific contributions are associated both with the healthcare systems and also with the people attitudes and life styles. The Portuguese female life expectancy is the smaller one comparing to the other countries in study. In nowadays, the most important source of the differences in life expectancy is the elderly mortality. The mortality above 60 years old is the source of approximately 75% of the observed differences in life expectancy between Portugal and Italy and Spain and, 95% of the difference between Portugal and France. As for the male life expectancy, the Portuguese values are also the worse, but unlike for women, adult mortality is the major source of the observed discrepancies in the male case: almost 70% of the difference with Italy, almost 55% of the total difference with Spain and only 30% regarding France. We propose to discuss the adult and elderly contributions to the observed differences in life expectancies within the context of individual health related behaviours and national health systems.

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Presented in Session 3: Comparative perspectives on health and mortality of national populations