Over the years, life expectancy has increased significantly in the EU. Whether the additional life time is spent in good or in poor health will drastically influence the development of health care costs as morbidity status rather than age per se determines an individual’s need for health services. However, empirical evidence on whether the prolonged lifespan is associated with a compression or an extension of morbidity is still sparse and inconclusive. In this paper, we analyse the prevalence of disability in the population 50+ in Europe by age and by proximity to death over time using longitudinal data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Despite an ageing population, we find average disability levels to remain constant over time. However, disability levels close to death increases.

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