Children's Resources and Parents' Survival: The Value of Education, Occupation, Income, and Geographic Proximity

Jenny Torssander, Swedish Institute for Social Research

Compared to research on the importance of parents’ socioeconomic position for children’s later-life health, the transmission of resources from children to parents is an understudied topic. A couple of studies have reported an association between adult children’s education and parents’ survival, net of parents’ own socioeconomic position. Why children’s education is linked to their parents’ longevity is, however, an unanswered question. The purpose of the current study is to further examine this subject. Some of the preliminary results were that children’s education was significantly associated with all examined causes of deaths except prostate cancer. Breast cancer mortality was negatively related to offspring’s education but not the mothers’ own education, pointing towards treatment or early detection differences. Geographic distance to parents was positively related to mortality of parents, but distance did not interact with the association between children’s education and parents’ mortality, which may point towards non-causal explanations.

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Presented in Session 71: SES, Health, and Mortality