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The Relationship between Age, Socio-Economic Status, and Health among Adult Canadians


  • Steven G. Prus


The relationship between socio-economic status and the health status of Canadians is well documented. However, the dynamics of this relationship over the adult life course remain largely unexplored. This paper uses data from the 1998-1999 Canadian National Population Health Survey to examine differences in global measures of health status (functional health, activity restriction, and self-rated health) between education groups across age categories. The results show that the gap in health status across education groups varies over the life course. The strength of the relationship increases from ages 25 to 64, and then decreases in later life. The data also show that education- based differences in health over the adult years almost disappear when controlling for economic, lifestyle, and psychosocial resources. Implications of these findings for health-related policy and methodological issues are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven G. Prus, 2001. "The Relationship between Age, Socio-Economic Status, and Health among Adult Canadians," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 57, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:57

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald Lee & Jonathan Skinner, 1999. "Will Aging Baby Boomers Bust the Federal Budget?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 117-140, Winter.
    2. Denton, Frank T. & Gafni, Amiram & Spencer, Byron G., 1995. "The SHARP way to plan health care services: A description of the system and some illustrative applications in nursing human resource planning," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 125-137, June.
    3. Lee, Ronald & Tuljapurkar, Shripad, 1998. "Uncertain Demographic Futures and Social Security Finances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 237-241, May.
    4. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1999. "Population Aging and Its Economic Costs: A Survey of the Issues and Evidence," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 1, McMaster University.
    5. Ronald Lee & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 1997. "Death and Taxes: Longer life, consumption, and social security," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 67-81, February.
    6. Ronald Lee & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 1998. "Stochastic Forecasts for Social Security," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 393-428 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Frank T. Denton & Amiram Gafni & Byron G. Spencer, 2001. "Population Change and the Requirements for Physicians: The Case of Ontario," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(4), pages 469-485, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandra L. Decker & Dahlia K. Remler, 2004. "How Much Might Universal Health Insurance Reduce Socioeconomic Disparities in Health? A Comparison of the US and Canada," NBER Working Papers 10715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Socio-economic status; Morbidity; Disability; Social/Psychological resources; Life course; Canada; NPHS;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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