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Unequal ageingThe untold story of exclusion in old age$
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Paul Cann and Malcolm Dean

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424129

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424129.001.0001

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Why is ageing so unequal?

Why is ageing so unequal?

(p.141) Seven Why is ageing so unequal?
Unequal ageing

Alan Walker

Policy Press

In this chapter, the author enumerates multiple causes that combine to produce cumulative negative outcomes in old age. Prior life course is the primary determinant of the unequal structure of income and wealth between different groups of older people. Inequality is also attributed to ‘natural’ or inherited differences between human beings. This has been exacerbated by huge disparities in occupational and personal pensions, along with the unfair tax breaks they generate for the better-off. Another important cause of unequal ageing, which interacts with other factors, especially occupational class, is health. This chapter argues that the long-term nature of the problem and Britain's poor performance in international terms suggest that unequal ageing is not the fault of one particular government but a systemic failure.

Keywords:   old age, life course, wealth, inequality, unequal ageing, health, pensions

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