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Estimating Healthy Life Expectancy: A Province-by-Province Study for China

Content pensioners

Han Li, Katja Hanewald and Shang Wu

With rapid economic growth and medical advances, longevity and health in China have been continuously improving in recent decades. However, health inequalities across Chinese provinces are still large. In this paper, we provide a province-by-province analysis of healthy life expectancy at birth for China. We develop a predictive multiple regression model utilizing information on life expectancy, health and socio-economic factors to estimate healthy life expectancy for Chinese provinces. Unlike the standard Sullivan method, the model we propose does not require data on ill-health prevalence rates which are not publicly available for each province. The model is estimated using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study for life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at birth for 139 countries in the years 1990, 2005 and 2013. We assess the predictive ability of the fitted model using appropriate hold-out samples and conclude that the model has good out-ofsample performance. Based on the proposed model, we provide estimates of healthy life expectancy at birth in 2015 for 31 provincial-level regions in China for both males and females. We then discuss the implications of our results for the design of public policies and the development of insurance and banking products in China.