We provide an overview of the growing literature that uses microlevel data from multiple countries to investigate health outcomes, and their link to socioeconomic factors, at older ages. Because the data are at a comparatively young stage, much of the analysis is at an early stage and limited to a handful of countries, with analysis for the United States and England being the most common. What is immediately apparent as we get better measures is that, between countries, health differences amongst those at older ages are real and large. Countries are ranked differently according to whether one considers life expectancy, prevalence, or the incidence of a specific condition. Moreover, the magnitude of international disparities may vary according to whether measures utilize doctor-diagnosed conditions or biomarker-based indicators of disease and poor health. But one key finding emerges—the United States ranks poorly on all indicators, with the exception of self-reported subjective health status.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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