Gómez Redondo, Rosa; García González, Juan Manuel and Aina Faus Bertomeu (2014): ‘Changes in mortality at older ages: the case of Spain (1975- 2006)’, In: Yonathan Anson (Coor.), Current Perspectives in Mortality Research, Springer
Recent decades have witnessed the rise of a new and growing demographic group: the elderly. This remarkable historical phenomenon is the direct result of an increase in survival rates, with more and more men and women celebrating their 85th birthday every year. As death rates fall and people live longer, the frequency distribution of age at death has shifted towards the more advanced groups, affecting a greater proportion of the population as a whole, while the maximum lifespan has continued to rise. It should be emphasized that the number of octogenarians in wealthy countries grew over the course of the 20th century, paralleled by a rise in the age of death among the very old. In the case of Spain, this trend did not emerge until the 1970s. This paper analyses the impact of mortality and the evolution of the main causes of death among Spanish elderly people. Special attention is paid to variations in gender-specific trends over the last three decades, looking for the most relevant causes of death. Our work focuses on three different age groups: 65–79; 80–89 and 90 older, to distinguish the diversity of trends. This research has also profited from the increase in the availability of official data on both mortality and the living population at advanced ages in recent years.