Whether the elderly live alone or with a partner is an important determinant of their well-being as well as the demand for public services. It is therefore of importance not only to consider the growth in the number of elderly but also to explore the living arrangements of the elderly in the future.
In this thesis, I present a household projection for the elderly in Norway and address how different assumptions about the death rates affect the proportion of those aged 80 and over living with a partner. I deploy the macro simulation programme LIPRO in order to simulate the household dynamics in Norway to 2032, relying on different assumptions about the future levels of mortality, the sex differential in mortality and the link between living arrangement and mortality. Data sources are the Survey on Living Conditions (1998 to 2002 panel waves), the census of 2001, and forecasts of births, deaths, and net migration calculated by Statistics Norway.
The results from the household projection show that the number of elderly living with a partner will increase at a higher rate than the total number of elderly up to 2032. For men the proportion of those aged 80 and over living with a partner is expected to increase from 54 per cent in 2002 to 77 per cent in 2032; for women the expected increase is 11 percentage points, up from 15 per cent in 2002.
To check how sensitive the results are to changes in the mortality assumptions I carried out fifteen simulations which vary only in their mortality assumptions. I look at the effects of changing the levels of mortality, the mortality sex gap and the strength of the relationship between mortality and marriage. The greatest effect comes from changing the sex gap in mortality. The polar cases I investigated which yield a sex difference in life expectancy at birth of 11,83 years and 0,11 years, respectively, had an impact of around 3-4 percentage points deviation from the Benchmark in each direction when it comes to the proportion of women living with a partner. For men living with a partner the deviation was of the magnitude of 10 percentage points. These mortality changes were found to affect the future household structure of the elderly through the effect they have on the female surplus among the elderly. The effect of changing the mortality rates solely for those living with a partner had a more limited effect, and the effect of changing the levels of mortality in the same direction for both men and women could not be predicted in general as this leads to opposing effects.