Document Type : Original Article
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Center for Demographic Research, Université catholique de Louvain, Ottignies-Louvainla-Neuve, Belgium
HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Life expectancy and life disparity are 2 useful indicators to assess the health condition of a society. Both Hong Kong and Japan have one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Recently, Hong Kong has overtaken Japan and topped the life expectancy rankings. However, whether Hong Kong has also outperformed Japan in life disparity is still unknown.
Decomposition analyses have been conducted to evaluate age-specific contributions to the changes in life expectancy and life disparity for each of the populations. Furthermore, the differences between the 2 populations were examined over the period 1977-2016.
Reduction in mortality of the adult and the old age groups contributes most to the increase in life expectancy for the study period. Hong Kong has a higher life disparity than Japan, and due to the great improvement in reducing premature deaths, the Hong Kong-Japan gap has been narrowing. However, in recent years, further reduction in mortality of the oldest elderly in Hong Kong has actually contributed to the increase in its disparity, thus widening its gap with Japan again.
Increasing dominant influence of “saving lives at late ages” is very likely to cause the reemergence of increasing life disparity in these 2 long-lived populations.
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