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Subjective length of life of European individuals at older ages: Temporal and gender distinctions

Dimiter Philipov and Sergei Scherbov

PLOS ONE, 2020, vol. 15, issue 3, 1-14

Abstract: This paper examines how older individuals living in 9 European countries evaluate their chances of survival. We use survey data for the years 2004 and 2015 to construct population-level gender-specific subjective length of life (or subjective life expectancy) in people between 60 and 90 years of age. Using a specially designed statistical approach based on survival analysis, we compare people's estimated subjective life expectancies with those actually observed. We find subjective life expectancies to be lower than actual life expectancies for both genders in 2004. In 2015 men become more realistic in the sense that their subjective life expectancy is close to what was actually observed, while women retain their subjective expectations of a shorter than actual life expectancy. These results help to better understand how people might construct diverse decisions related to their remaining life course.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229975

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