Does the socio-economic mortality gradient interact with age? Evidence from US survey data and Danish register data
Rasmus Hoffmann, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
The impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on mortality is an established fact. I examine if this impact decreases with age. Most of the research finds this decrease but it is unknown to what extend it is due to mortality selection. My data come from the US Health and Retirement Study (N=9376) and from the Danish Demographic Database (entire Danish population above age 58). Detailed information of SES and health information is available, for Denmark also causes of death. Event-history-analysis is applied to analyze socioeconomic differences in mortality. Mortality selection is addressed by models that include a term for unobserved heterogeneity. SES differentials in mortality converge with age in Denmark but not in the US. In both countries they converge strongly with decreasing health. Controlled for health the differences are stable across age in both countries. Controlling for unobserved heterogeneity only slightly reduces the converging pattern over age.