It is well-known that the average life expectancy in Denmark is steadily rising. The calculations in this research paper show that the disparities between people's life expectancies are diminishing at the same time. In other words, we can expect to have a more uniform life expectancy. The disparities in life expectancy are falling for men and women alike, as well as for the two groups combined. However, women do still live slightly longer, and have less variance in their life expectancies compared to men.
The results do not confirm a general increase in health inequality, as is otherwise often assumed. Viewed as a whole, the population's inequality in terms of health is decreasing, as measured by life expectancy. Health policies should therefore not be drawn up from assumptions of growing inequality, in a discriminatory fashion that also compromises the rule of law. Similarly, differentiation of retirement ages should be rejected, and the planned life expectancy indexing should instead begin for everyone in 2025, rather than in 2030. This will resolve the majority of the so-called ageing problem for the public deficit.
Overall inequality in life expectancy is measured by the Gini coefficient. This is the same yardstick often used to measure income disparities.
The Gini coefficient is usually used to measure the degree of disparity between the various incomes people have earned in the course of one year. However, the Gini coefficient can also show disparities in life expectancy by examining how old people live to be.
Life expectancy itself is of interest. It is also an indicator of health conditions. Those with poor health tend to live shorter lives. Life expectancy can therefore be at least as important an indicator of well-being and living conditions as income.
Life expectancy is also significant in assessing income inequality. It is not a single year's income that determines one's standard of life, but income throughout all of life. The strong increase in the standard of living over the last few hundred years is shown not only in greater yearly incomes, but also in the fact that people are living twice as long: we get "two lives", compared to pre-Industrial Revolution times.