Differentials in active life expectancy in the older population of the United States

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1996 May;51(3):S111-20. doi: 10.1093/geronb/51b.3.s111.


This study clarifies the process by which mortality and disability interact to determine differences in active life expectancy by age, sex, race, and education for the U.S. population 70 years of age and over. The analysis is performed using data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging and multistate life tables constructed using the results of hazard models. Women spend more years than men both active and inactive at every age; however, the proportion of life that is expected to be active is smaller for women. These differences are largely due to mortality differences favoring women. Persons with less than a high school education have shorter total and active life expectancies but similar expected lengths of inactive life compared to those with more than a high school education. There are no significant race differences in total life expectancy for race-education groups of the older population; but Blacks have lower expected active life than non-Blacks because of worse functioning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Quality of Life
  • Racial Groups
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States