FIGURE 1 Excess Māori Mortality over Non-Māori Ages 20 to 100, 2000-2002 and 2005-2007
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100
SouRCE: STATISTICS Nz, Au ThoR CALCuLATIoNS
approximately 1 percent per annum. The NZCMS has reported,
however, that observed reductions in mortality rates tended to
be the same in absolute terms for all groups—so that relative
inequality necessarily increased.
And although it focused on men ages 25 to 64, a recent study
conducted between censuses in the United Kingdom found a
reduction in absolute differences from 2003 onward but an increase in relative inequality at the same time. So despite a slight
narrowing of the gap in mortality rates, the relative reduction
in the higher rates was still less than the relative reduction in
the lower rates.
This suggests that the third scenario is the most likely of the
three but still possibly optimistic. The two other improvement
scenarios, both more favorable in terms of narrowing inequality,
may be somewhat aspirational—particularly the fourth.
Is It Unfair?
That’s the background. But what were the results of the analysis?
I carried out two exercises. The first, borrowing from the
OECD paper, looked at things from the perspective of current
65-year-olds. It calculated what the proportional loss would be
from increasing the retirement eligibility age by two years, from
65 to 67. For a man of higher socioeconomic status, the economic loss was 13. 1 percent of the expected value for the first
scenario, dropping to 12. 5 percent of expected value under the
mortality improvement scenarios. This continual improvement
in mortality mitigated the loss a little (perhaps adding weight
to the argument that increases in longevity justify increasing
the age of eligibility).
For a man of lower economic status, however, the loss was
14. 9 percent of the expected value for the first scenario, dropping