Inequalities in the impact of retirement on health

Contact: Alan Marshall  

Short introduction  

A common policy response to the challenges attributed to population ageing is to increase the statutory retirement age. However, retirement is known to be an important event in the life course influencing health at later ages and it is argued that delaying retirement might also exacerbate health inequalities at the oldest ages. This research strand of the fRaill project contributes to such debates by using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to explore how the impact of retirement on a number of measures of health varies across occupational groups.

This is an important contribution because research on the impact of occupational characteristics on health after retirement is scarce (Carlson et al. 2012). The limited research in this area suggests that there may be some evidence of strong retirement-related improvements in health for those in the least favourable occupations (Westerlund 2009). The ELSA is an excellent source for such analysis containing information on a variety of indicators of health, wellbeing and frailty, including a longitudinal element and a large sample of older people as well as information on respondents perceptions of their work.


Carlsson, S., Andersson, T., Michaelsson, K., Vagero, D., Ahlbom, A. (2012) Late retirement is not associated with increased mortality, results based on all Swedish retirements 1991-2007. European Journal of Epidemiology. 27: p483-486.

Westerlund, H., Kiyimaki, M., Singh-Manoux, A., Melcior, M., Ferrie, J., Pentti, J., Jokela, J., Leineweber, C., Goldberg, M., Zins, M., Vahtera, J, (2009). Self-rated health before and after retirement in France (GAZEL): a cohort study. The Lancet 374.

Current research outputs from this strand

Marshall, A., Nazroo, J., Tampubolon, G. (2012) Inequalities in the impact of retirement on health in the United Kingdom. Canadian Association on Gerontology Conference. Vancouver. October 18th-20th.

Marshall, A., Nazroo, J., Norman, P., Tampubolon, G. (2012) Social and spatial inequalities in the impact of retirement on health in the United Kingdom. British Society of Population Studies. Nottingham. September 10th-12th.