Inequalities in life expectancy in Canada, 2011 to 2016

Release date: January 15, 2020

Infographic: Inequalities in life expectancy in Canada, 2011 to 2016
Description: Inequalities in life expectancy in Canada, 2011 to 2016

Inequalities in life expectancy in Canada, 2011 to 2016

Life expectancy at age 25 is the average number of additional years a person would expect to live based on current mortality rates. It is an important measure of the health of a population.

Life expectancy was higher for those with more education.

A person aged 25 could expect to live these additional years.
  Men Women
Additional years
Less than secondary diploma 54 59
Secondary graduation or trades certification 57 62
College diploma 59 64
University degree 61 66

Similar inequalities existed according to income.

Men and women in the highest income bracket can expect to live longer than those in the lowest income bracket.

  • Men: 8 more years
  • Women: 5 more years

People with less education and income not only lived fewer years, they also spent a smaller share of those years in good health.

Share of life expectancy at age 25 spent in good health
  Men Women
Education
Less than secondary diploma 81% 79%
University degree 89% 87%
Income
Lowest income bracket 79% 78%
Highest income bracket 90% 87%

Inequalities in life expectancy widened over time.

The gap in life expectancy grew between 1996-2001 and 2011-2016

Education: Between those with less than a high school diploma and those with a university degree
  Men Women
1996-2001 6.4 years 4.8 years
2011-2016 7.8 years 6.7 years
Income: Between those in the lowest income quintile and those in the highest
  Men Women
1996-2001 6.7 years 3.7 years
2011-2016 7.7 years 5.4 years

Source: Bushnik T, Tjepkema M, Martel L. Socioeconomic disparities in life and health expectancy among the household population in Canada.  Health Reports 2020; 31(1): 3-14.

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