Population ageing is a global phenomenon. The numbers and proportions of older adults in the population are increasing in virtually every country in the world. This development is driven by broad demographic changes in fertility rates and life expectancies. The dramatic increase in longevity observed during the past century is certainly one of the greatest achievements in human history. However, substantial social inequalities in the likelihood of reaching old age as well as in the risk of health problems and mortality during old age, remain. Individuals exposed to socioeconomic disadvantages throughout the life-course experience a higher risk of premature mortality. Moreover, among those who survive into old age, earlier and current exposures to socioeconomic disadvantages are associated with an increased risk of poor health and mortality. In my presentation, I will display and discuss current evidence and hypotheses on how disadvantages experienced throughout the life-course are associated with the likelihood of reaching old age as well as with health during old age.