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Report Perspectives Demogràfiques 22

Disease-free life expectancy has not improved in Spain


Publication date

Jan 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to the continuous progression in life expectancy at birth, in which Spain was one of
the world leaders. Although this downward effect is a result of the present conjuncture and it is hoped that recovery will be
swift in the coming years, this situation has led us to consider the evolution prior to the pandemic. It is true that the increase
in number of years of life has been progressive and steady but, in recent years, these gains have not implied improved health
among the older population. Disability-free life expectancy at the age of 65 has been very stable over time, but the figures are
less encouraging when the presence of diseases and chronic conditions are taken into account. In this issue of Perspectives
Demogràfiques, we investigate whether there have been gains or losses in years of disease-free life for men and women at the
age of 65 in Spain and by autonomous community (AC) in the years 2006, 2012, and 2017. The results indicate that increased
life expectancy will also mean that people will live more time with diagnosed diseases unless the present trend is reversed. The
most common ailments and conditions include hypertension, chronic back pain, diabetes, and heart disease. The differences
between men and women tend to converge in years of life in good health, mainly as a result of a lengthening of time lived in
poor health among men.

DOI pd.eng.22




Older People, Demography, and Health


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