Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This Population Council working paper compares estimates of life expectancy and active life expectancy across indicators of socioeconomic status for a cohort of older adults in Beijing Municipality. The aim is to determine whether associations are consistent across indicators and with those typically observed in Western industrialized countries. The research finds that men of higher status experience advantages with respect to life and active life expectancies. Among women, only active life expectancy is significantly greater for those of higher status, but the difference by income is not statistically significant. With respect to the proportion of life spent in an active state, both men and women of higher status benefit in comparison to their lower status counterparts. Finally, we find that disparities by socioeconomic status generally increase with age. Despite several inconsistencies across socioeconomic status indicators by sex, findings generally confirm inequalities within a society that is organized very differently socially, economically, and politically from countries in the West.