Is It Worth Weighting for? Health Expectancies in Europe Based on Education-Adjusted Weights

Sonja Spitzer , Vienna Institute of Demography

This paper explores if health expectancies are affected by biases in the education structure of survey data. Health expectancies are widely used by scholars and policy makers to analyse how many years a person can expect to live in good health. For their calculation, life tables in combination with prevalence of good or bad health from survey data is needed. Yet survey data rarely resembles the education distribution in the general population, which is crucial given the strong positive correlation between educational attainment and good health. By generating education-adjusted post-stratification weights for 13 European countries, it is possible to analyse if and how this deviation affects health expectancy measures. Results show that health expectancies are over-estimated for most countries analysed when the education distribution in the general population is ignored. In some countries, health expectancies are under-estimated without the education-adjusted weights.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging