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The Nonlinear Relationship Between Education and Mortality: An Examination of Cohort, Race/Ethnic, and Gender Differences

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  • Bethany Everett

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  • David Rehkopf

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  • Richard Rogers

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Abstract

Researchers investigating the relationship between education and mortality in industrialized countries have consistently shown that higher levels of education are associated with decreased mortality risk. The shape of the education–mortality relationship and how it varies by demographic group have been examined less frequently. Using the U.S. National Health Interview Survey-Linked Mortality Files, which link the 1986 through 2004 NHIS to the National Death Index through 2006, we examine the shape of the education–mortality curve by cohort, race/ethnicity, and gender. Whereas traditional regression models assume a constrained functional form for the dependence of education and mortality, in most cases semiparametric models allow us to more accurately describe how the association varies by cohort, both between and within race/ethnic and gender subpopulations. Notably, we find significant changes over time in both the shape and the magnitude of the education–mortality gradient across cohorts of women and white men, but little change among younger cohorts of black men. Such insights into demographic patterns in education and mortality can ultimately help increase life expectancies. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Bethany Everett & David Rehkopf & Richard Rogers, 2013. "The Nonlinear Relationship Between Education and Mortality: An Examination of Cohort, Race/Ethnic, and Gender Differences," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(6), pages 893-917, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:32:y:2013:i:6:p:893-917
    DOI: 10.1007/s11113-013-9299-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bethany G. Everett & Jarron Saint Onge & Stefanie Mollborn, 2016. "Effects of Minority Status and Perceived Discrimination on Mental Health," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(4), pages 445-469, August.
    2. Jennifer Glick & Seung Han, 2015. "Socioeconomic Stratification from Within: Changes Within American Indian Cohorts in the United States: 1990–2010," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 34(1), pages 77-112, February.
    3. Elizabeth M. Lawrence & Richard G. Rogers & Anna Zajacova, 2016. "Educational Attainment and Mortality in the United States: Effects of Degrees, Years of Schooling, and Certification," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(4), pages 501-525, August.
    4. Masters, Ryan K. & Link, Bruce G. & Phelan, Jo C., 2015. "Trends in education gradients of ‘preventable’ mortality: A test of fundamental cause theory," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 19-28.
    5. Hayward, Mark D. & Hummer, Robert A. & Sasson, Isaac, 2015. "Trends and group differences in the association between educational attainment and U.S. adult mortality: Implications for understanding education's causal influence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 8-18.

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