Reports 2015/39

Life expectancy and disbursement of early retirement pension in different occupations

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That mortality varies by occupational groups, is well known from earlier studies. The first part of this report is a follow-up to this previous study and looks into whether there has been any change in the patterns of mortality by occupation from the 1980s and 1990s up to recent years. Information about occupation, which in former studies was extracted from the 1960-1980 censuses, is in this study extracted both from the censuses (for groups that retired before 2003) and the register-based employment statistics in Statistics Norway. Mortality is in the current study measured by life expectancy at certain ages, which means that mortality of both occupied and former occupied is included. That explains the need for both data sources to cover information of occupation during a long period.

To be able to identify changes in mortality in different occupations or occupational groups over time, we have compared two 5 year periods (mortality in 2004-2008 and in 2009-2013). The results presented in this report confirm former trends found in the patterns of occupational mortality, particularly for men. The group of occupations with the strongest demands for education (long tertiary education) has on average a life expectancy of 5 years more than the group of occupations without any demands for education. The difference in life expectancy between the corresponding groups of women was 3.5 years in 2009-2013, which is more than in the previous period. At more disaggregated level and between single occupations differences are even larger, and some of them are rather stable, although the uncertainty is higher.

In the second part of this report a possible connection between tendency of early start in disbursement of pension and occupational mortality was examined. From 2011 the Norwegian National insurance system was changed. It is now possible to start disbursement of pension from 62 years independent of economic activity. However, earlier start of disbursement gives lower monthly payment for life.

The early retirement pension system is different in the public sector compared to the private sector. Men working in the private sector tend to start disbursement of pension without retiring more often than men working in the public sector. This fact seems to be independent of occupation. Women in occupations with low mortality start pension disbursement without retiring more often compared to women in occupations with high mortality. The pattern found for women is not connected to inequality in mortality, but rather to not having too less accumulated pension rights to be able to choose early retirement. This relates especially to occupations with high mortality. These groups must wait until they are 67 years before starting disbursement. For men there was a weak correlation in voluntary retirement before 67 years of age and mortality by occupation. Men in occupations with high mortality tend to retire before 67 years of age compared to men in occupations with lower mortality. This pattern was not observed for women. Both for men and women, employees in public sector retire earlier than men and women in the private sector.

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