SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Jordá, Vanesa and Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel (2017) Global inequality in length of life, 1950–2015. Helsinki: UNU-WIDER Working Paper 2017/192. (Unpublished)

Text - Published Version
Download (403kB) | Preview


This paper provides a broad picture of national, regional and global trends of inequality in length of life over the period 1950–2015. We use data on life tables from World Population Prospects to develop a comprehensive database of a battery of inequality measures for 201 countries at five-year intervals over the period under analysis. We estimate both absolute and relative inequality measures which have the property of being additively decomposable. This property makes the database remarkably flexible because overall inequality can be computed for any group of countries using only the information included in our database. The decomposition analysis reveals that differences in life expectancy between countries account for a very small portion of the observed changes in global inequality in length of life, evolution of which is large driven by within-country variation. Our estimates indicate that inequality in length of life has decreased sharply since 1950, a reduction that can be largely attributed to the substantial progress made in reducing child mortality worldwide. We also observe a degree of heterogeneity in the distributional patters of inequality in length of life across world regions.

Item Type: Monographs and Working Papers (Working Paper)
Keywords: inequality, lifespan, mortality rates, life expectancy
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISBN: 9789292564186
ISSN: 17987237
Copyright Statement: © UNU-WIDER 2017
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2022 12:58
Funders: Other

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item