Changes in active life expectancy in Taiwan: Compression or expansion?

Edward Jow Ching Tu*, Kuanjeng Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

19 Scopus citations


The 1986-1989 supplements on Elderly Living Conditions to the Monthly Surveys of Human Resources in the Taiwan area are used to estimate active life expectancy and to examine evidence for a compression of disability. Unlike recent results generated in Western countries in favour of the expansion or morbidity hypothesis, our findings tend to support the hypothesis that declining mortality leads to a compression of disability. In Taiwan fatal diseases (e.g. heart disease, stroke, and cancer) play a more important role in disability than to nonfatal diseases (e.g. arthritis, dementia, sensory impairments, and osteoporosis, etc.). Fatal diseases are still the leading causes of disability; modern technology has not prolonged life significantly to Taiwanese who contract such diseases. Hence the improvement in recent life expectancy is very slow and the duration between age at onset of fatal diseases and death tends to be short. As a result of such short duration, the area between the disability and the mortality curve in the life table narrows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1657-1665
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 12 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • active life expectancy


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