Increasing Inequalities in Mortality by Socioeconomic Position in Italy

  • Chiara Ardito Chiara Ardito
  • Angelo d’Errico Angelo d’Errico
  • Giuseppe Costa Giuseppe Costa
  • Nicolás Zengarini Nicolás Zengarini
  • Roberto Leombruni Roberto Leombruni

This article investigates the evolution of inequalities in life expectancy at 65 and all-cause mortality by socioeconomic position (SEP) in Italy.
For this study, we used two large administrative data sets, one covering the Italian private sector employees’ population in the years 1990–2019, the other covering for the years 1981–2019 all private and public sector workers of Turin, the fourth largest city of Italy. Life table techniques are used to estimate the evolution of life expectancy at 65 years by different income quantiles and occupational classes. Negative binomial regression analyses are performed to calculate the interaction effect of socio-economic position and year on mortality controlling for several individual and contextual factors and the mutual adjustment of the second measure of SEP.
We find that social inequalities in life expectancy at 65 and all-cause mortality have widened in Italy during the last decades because longevity improved for mid- to high SEP individuals whereas it hardly changed for workers in the lowest SEP. These results have important implications also for pension policies as inequalities in longevity may imply regressive redistribution and undermine the equity of a pension system.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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