Pension reform: do the poorest 25% die before age 62, as the LFI insists?

While the timetable for pension reform accelerates, major unions and the left continue to punish its “unequal” and “unfair” nature compared to the simplest. One argument in particular has been put forward in recent days by the opposition: delaying the official retirement age (which should reach 64 by 2030) will be even harsher as 25% of the poorest people will die before reaching it. of 62. Is the statement of the rebellious elected officials true? We take stock.

Rebel MP for Val de Marne Clémence Guette repeated this Sunday in France 5: “One quarter of the poorest people will die at age 62 and one third at age 65”.

The mutinous elected officials’ statements are based on INSEE data taken from a 2018 study of French mortality by standard of living. The Statistical Institute divides the population of France into twenty categories, called “deciles”, ranging from the most modest (earning an average of 460 euros per month) to the richest (with 5,790 euros per month). If we focus on the poorest 5% of men, almost 75% of them (74,660 out of 100,000 people) are still alive at 62 years old. In other words, the poorest 25% of people have died before reaching that age.

And among the rich? If we look at the richest 5% of people, almost 95% of men are still alive at 62 years old. Therefore, Only 5% of the richest people die by the age of 62. The difference in life expectancy is such that there are 25% of men who die among the richest but from the age of 81, that is… almost 20 years after the most modest category. This gap tends to widen over the years: by age 65, 31% of the poorest people are dead, nearly a third, as Clémence Guetté suggests, compared to just 7% of the richest.

While life expectancy has steadily increased in France over the years, social inequality in the face of death persists. Unsurprisingly, the profession in question has always explained these differences, but not only that, says Catherine Sofer, a professor specializing in labor economics at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. “On the one hand, executives are less exposed to accidents, illness, or chemical products than workers. On the other hand, the most privileged class has a better lifestyle. This required more regular exercise, a better quality diet, less smoking…”, the academician recalls.

Access to care also differs from place to place. “The working class has traditionally gone to the doctor less. On the contrary, they will increase the body’s resistance. Most importantly, making an appointment with a specialist can be more complicated both from a financial point of view – with excess costs not covered by Social Security – and from a practice finance point of view, given the importance of medical deserts in rural areas”, adds Constance Perrin-Joly, lecturer sociology at the University of Paris 13.

The poorest 13% of women die by age 62

And on the women’s side? The “25%” figure put forward by trade unions and left-wing parties does not reflect their predicament. At age 62, 87% of the poorest French women are still alive. In other words, 13% died at this age, or just under a quarter, again according to INSEE data. And if we look at the richest class, only 3% of French women die at the same age. The life expectancy of female workers today is the same as that of female executives in the mid-1980s, INSEE has observed in previous research.

If the difference in life expectancy between men and women is maintained, it tends to decrease from year to year. “Certain behaviors we think about more masculine it is now pervading the entire population: alcohol, tobacco, risky behavior, etc.,” emphasizes Constance Perrin-Joly.

Despite this social inequality, the government assures us that support measures will make it possible to reduce the impact of reforms for the simplest workers. He hopes to consider more “professional wear and tear”, by “strengthening medical monitoring” and by “accompanying these employees towards early departure arrangements at age 62”. That argument is still struggling to convince unions and the opposition, who intend to march on January 19 against delaying the legal age.

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