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Shorter Lives with Poor Health: The Toll on Spain’s Less Educated Population


More than three years separate life expectancy at the age of 30 in more educated groups compared with those with low levels of education. Recent decades have seen considerable advances in the longevity of the Spanish population but these improvements mask the persistence of significant inequalities in health and mortality. Socioeconomic level is a discriminating factor in the health status of individuals throughout their lives and education is one of the most frequently used indicators in studies on social inequalities in health and mortality. In addition to being an indirect variable of the socioeconomic situation, educational level largely conditions the lifestyles and health preferences of individuals as well as their use of the resources of the social and healthcare system.

In this issue of Perspectives Demogràfiques, Amand Blanes (Researcher at CED) and Sergi Trias-Llimós‘ (Juan de la Cierva’ Research Fellow at CED) discuss the present-day differences in health and mortality in Spain according to educational level. These inequalities can be summarised as a threefold penalisation of less educated individuals in comparison with those with a high educational level: lower life expectancy; b) greater inequality in age at death; and c) a smaller proportion of years with quality of life.