Sex mortality differences in The United States: The role of cohort smoking patterns

Abstract

This article demonstrates that over the period 1948–2003, sex differences in mortality in the age range 50–84 widened and then narrowed on a cohort basis rather than on a period basis. The cohort with the maximum excess of male mortality was born shortly after the turn of the century. Three separate data sources suggest that the turnaround in sex mortality differences is consistent with sex differences in cigarette smoking by cohort. An age-period-cohort model reveals a highly significant effect of smoking histories on men’s and women’s mortality. Combined with recent changes in smoking patterns, the model suggests that sex differences in mortality will narrow dramatically in coming decades.

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This project was supported by National Institute of Aging Grant P30 AG12836 and by the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Security at the University of Pennsylvania. We are grateful to Donna Hoyert from the National Center for Health Statistics and to David M. Burns of the University of California, San Diego, for supplying certain of the data on which this study is based. We appreciate the comments and suggestions of John Bongaarts, Douglas Ewbank, Hans-Peter Kohler, and editors and reviewers for this journal.

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Preston, S.H., Wang, H. Sex mortality differences in The United States: The role of cohort smoking patterns. Demography 43, 631–646 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1353/dem.2006.0037

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Keywords

  • Smoking Behavior
  • Smoking Prevalence
  • Lung Cancer Death Rate
  • Smoking Pattern
  • Mortality Change