, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 551-561

Education and survival: Birth cohort, period, and age effects

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Previous studies have found that educational differences in mortality are weaker among the elderly. In this study I examine whether either cohort or period effects may have influenced the interpretation of age effects. Six 10-year birth cohorts are followed over 30 years through decennial censuses. Differential survival is inferred from changes in the relative proportions of a cohort in each education category as the cohort ages. In cross-section, younger persons generally show stronger education effects on survival, although this pattern is clearer for women than for men. There is evidence of period effects. Within cohorts, relative survival tends to increase with age.

The author thanks Paul Rathouz for statistical advice, and Patrick Heuveline, Mary Elizabeth Hughes, Kathleen Cagney, Bert Kestenbaum, Vance Lauderdale III, Thomas D’Aunno, David Meltzer, Nicholas Christakis, Jack Iwashyna, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions. This work was supported in part by Grant R03 AG18491-01 from the National Institute on Aging. Demography, Volume 38-Number 4, November 2001