Flexible ageing: new ways to measure the diverse experience of population aging in Scotland, using the Scottish Longitudinal Study
Spijker, J. & MacInnes, J. (2015) SLS Research Working Paper 11. Longitudinal Studies Centre Scotland: Edinburgh/St Andrews, 5 November 2015. [SLS]
...This project takes a sociodemographic approach to assess the challenges and opportunities of ageing populations in different contexts. Single-year of age and sex population estimate data and life expectancy data from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) (formerly General Register Office for Scotland (GROS)) ―for the period 1981-2011― and the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) ―related to the 1991 and 2001 censuses ― are used to construct new measures of population ageing based on years of remaining life expectancy rather than years since birth. In other words, we treat age in terms of years left until death rather than calendar age. While the latter is routinely used in the social sciences as well as in public policy (e.g. for the calculation of dependency ratios) because of the straightforward availability of data and their relevance to eligibility criteria set by public policy for e.g. pension entitlement and other social benefits, these measures do not consider the impact of one of the two main drivers of population ageing: improvements in survival, which has been responsible for large gains in life expectancy among older ages over the last half a century in the case of men and an additional several decades for women. While the NRS data allows for the analysis of a longer time period, the SLS data permits a more detailed analysis of the level of ageing, for instance by making estimating for specific sub-populations including different categories of (former) occupation, marital status, subjective rated health and level of area deprivation. The SLS data also allow us to estimate the size and composition of the elderly according to these census variables and produce dependency ratios of the older population to the employed rather than the usual working-age population in Scotland. The goal then is to see if these tell a different story from the conventional old-age dependency ratios.
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