Changes in life expectancy in different marital status for French elderly people: gender and generational perspectives

Joëlle Gaymu, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Sophie Pennec, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

The needs of old people when dependency arises differ significantly according to whether they are married, widowed, divorced or single. Research shows among others that spouse is the main care giver and singles, mainly because they are mostly childless, are more often in institution. During the last decades, some studies have shown that marital situations of old people have tremendously changed. For instance, whatever the age, they are less likely to become widow(er)s. Beyond this cross-sectional approach, we use on a biographical approach to better understand the needs of care (formal and informal) and their potential duration. We analyse life expectancies of marital status according to various marital biographies. For example, most of women married at 60 will face widowhood. Those born in 1900 had an expectancy of life at 60 of 25 years. They spent 11,5 with their husband and 13.6 years alone. ”Marital isolation” represents the main part of their life after age 60. For those born 40 years later, the result is reverse; they will spend most of the time with their husband (16.4 years) and 14 alone. Most of the 5 years gained in life expectancy are spent with a partner (4.5 years). The final paper will also include results for men and for oldest old. Our main data source is vital statistics of mortality, marriage, divorce and widowhood according to sex, age and former marital status. Using these data, we built a microsimulation model to reconstitute and forecast the matrimonial histories of French men and women born between 1900 and 1950.

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Presented in Session 49: Population Ageing and Living Arrangements: Estimations and Projections