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Aging and Gender Health Gap: A Multilevel Analysis for 17 European Countries

Patricia Gómez-Costilla (), Carmen García-Prieto and Noelia Somarriba-Arechavala
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Patricia Gómez-Costilla: University of Valladolid
Noelia Somarriba-Arechavala: University of Valladolid

Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2022, vol. 160, issue 2, No 28, 1069 pages

Abstract: Abstract The European population is aging and their declining capacity makes older Europeans more dependent on the availability of care. Male and female health needs at older ages are different, yet there are contradictory results on the study of gender inequalities in health among the older European population. The aim of this article is twofold: first, we study whether there is a general gender health gap at older ages across Europe. Secondly, we analyze the existence of an increasing or decreasing universal association between the gender health gap and age among the older European population or whether, by contrast, this depends on the type of welfare state. To achieve these goals, we use data from the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) for respondents aged 50 and over in 2015, and we carry out several multilevel random intercept logistic regressions for European countries. Our results show that when we split European countries into groups according to the type of welfare state, we only find a significant gender health gap in older people in Southern and Social Democratic countries. Some differences have been found in the links between the gender health gap and age among European countries. Old women report worse health than men at all ages in Southern countries while in Social Democratic states it is only true for women aged 80 and over. In Bismarckian states there are barely any gender differences, while the gender health gap has no clearly defined bias. Between the ages of 60 and 79, men from Eastern European countries report poorer health, while after 80 it is women who report poorer health. In general, we found the widest gender inequalities in health for the oldest population group, especially in Southern and Eastern European countries.

Keywords: Gender; Inequalities; Health; Aging; Welfare state; Multilevel; Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11205-020-02595-2

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