Life expectancy increasing in NL, but only for highly-educated

Older man reading a newspaper
Older man reading a newspaper. (Photo: IgorVetushko/DepositPhotos)

The life expectancy for 65-year-old people living in the Netherlands increased over the past years, but only for highly educated people. The life expectancy for 65-year-olds with a low level of education remained the same, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. Highly educated people are also less likely to have physical limitations and more likely to be healthy for longer.

Between 2015 and 2018, the life expectancy for highly educated 65-year-old women was 25 years, over 4 years longer than that of their lower educated peers. In the period 2011 to 2014, the difference was still less than 3 years, according to the stats office. The life expectancy for highly educated men between 2015 and 2018 was over 22 years, 5 years more than their lower educated counterparts. In the period 2011 to 2014, that difference was 4 years. 

Highly educated workers retired on average 8 months earlier than those with a low level of education. Between 2015 and 2018, 12 percent of women aged 65 or over were highly educated and 62 percent had a low level of education. Among men it was 25 percent and 39 percent respectively.

People with a low level of education more often have a hearing, vision or mobility impairment than their highly educated counterparts. This applies to both men and women, according to the stats office. Between 2015 and 2018, highly educated 65-year-old men and women had on average 18 years of life without impairments ahead of them, compared to 12 years for their peers with low levels of education. 

The number of years of life with good health is also dependent on the level of education, according to the stats office. Between 2015 and 2018, highly educated 65-year-old women had on average 17 healthy years ahead of them, compared to 11 years for low educated 65-year-old women. Among men it was 16 years and 10 years respectively. 

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