Forecasting Survival by Socioeconomic Status and Implications for Social Security Benefits

Published: 2019
Project ID: UM19-04


Both wealth and mortality inequality have increased, which will lead to greater aggregate Social Security payouts because individuals with greater annual benefits will live longer. An important question is whether the trend in mortality inequality will continue. We propose a novel method to forecast life expectancy as a function of socioeconomic status and to investigate its implications for expected Social Security payments.  We use trends in the subjective probabilities of survival, a forward-looking measure of an individual’s survival chances, as well as their health status, health behavior, and other variables to forecast survival.