AccScience Publishing / IJPS / Volume 4 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.18063/ijps.v4i2.704

Gender difference in trends in healthy life expectancy in 2005-2012 for adults aged 50 years and older in South Africa

Witness Chirinda1* Yasuhiko Saito2 Danan Gu3 Nompumelelo Zungu4,5
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1 Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa
2 Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan
3 United Nations Population Division, New York, USA
4 Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa
5 Department of Psychology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
IJPS 2018, 4(2), 12–22;
© Invalid date by the Authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) ( )

Data characterizing older people’s life expectancy by good or poor health is important for policy and fiscal planning. This study aims to examine trends and investigate gender differences in healthy life expectancy (HLE) for older people in South Africa for the period 2005–2012. Using data from three repeated cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2005, 2008, and 2012, we applied a self-rated health measure to estimating HLE. The Sullivan method was used in the calculations. We found that unhealthy life expectancy decreased over the period, while HLE and the proportion of life spent in good health increased more than total life expectancy in the same period. Gender disparities were evident: Women had higher life expectancy than men, yet they spent a greater proportion of their lifetime in poor health. We concluded that HLE of older people in South Africa has improved over the period under investigation.

gender difference
health expectancies
healthy life expectancy
older adults
self-rated health
South Africa
Sullivan method

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