Preventing Ageing Unequally

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This report examines how the two global mega-trends of population ageing and rising inequalities have been developing and interacting, both within and across generations. Taking a life-course perspective the report shows how inequalities in education, health, employment and earnings compound, resulting in large differences in lifetime earnings across different groups. It suggests a policy agenda to prevent, mitigate and cope with inequalities along the life course drawing on good practices in OECD countries and emerging economies.


Executive summary

“Ageing unequally” refers to inequality that develops throughout the life course and materialises in old age. It is often the result of specific episodes during people’s lives that tend to cumulate their detrimental effects on health and income at old age. Ageing unequally is not a new phenomenon, but while the current generation of older people is experiencing higher incomes and lower poverty risks than previous ones in most countries, the younger generations are likely to face again higher inequality in old age. They are expected to live longer, but have been experiencing more unstable labour market conditions and widening inequalities in the distribution of earnings and household income. This contributes to widening inequality in old age, while socio-economic disparities in health status remain large.


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