Are Differences in Disability-Free Life Expectancy
by Gender, Race, and Education Widening at Older
Eileen M. Crimmins
Received: 12 October 2012 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published online: 1 June 2014
Ó Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014
Abstract To examine change from 1991 to 2001 in disability-free life expectancy
in the age range 60–90 by gender, race, and education in the United States. Mor-
tality is estimated over two 10-year follow-up periods for persons in the National
Health Interview Surveys of 1986/1987 and 1996/1997. Vital status is ascertained
through the National Death Index. Disability prevalence is estimated from the
National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys of 1988–1994 and 1999–2002.
Disability is deﬁned as ability to perform four activities of daily living without
difﬁculty. Disability-free life expectancy increased only among white men. Dis-
abled life expectancy increased for all groups—black and white men and women.
Racial differences in disability-free life expectancy widened among men; gender
differences were reduced among whites. Expansion of socioeconomic differentials
in disability-free life at older ages occurred among white men and women and black
women. The 1990s was a period where the increased years of life between ages 60
and 90 were concentrated in disabled years for most population groups.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11113-014-9337-
6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Ined- Institut National d’E
mographiques, 133 boulevard Davout, 75980 Paris cedex 20,
Center for Demography of Health and Aging, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1180 Observatory
Dr, Madison, WI 53706-1393, USA
E. M. Crimmins
Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, 3715 McClintock Ave,
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Popul Res Policy Rev (2015) 34:1–18