Children's Educational Attainment, Occupation, and Income and Their Parents' Mortality

Irma T. Elo, University of Pennsylvania
Pekka Martikainen, University of Helsinki
Mikko Aaltonen, National Research Institute of Legal Policy

There is a large literature on the positive association between one's own socioeconomic status (SES) and health and mortality and the association between parents’ SES and children's health. In contrast, very few studies have examined the relationship between adult children’s SES and the health and mortality of their parents. In this paper, we contribute to this literature by examining the associations between children's socioeconomic status and their parents' mortality by using high quality census and death record data in Finland. We find significant and robust results for children’s educational attainment, occupational status and income, even in the presence of controls for parental characteristics. Higher level of education among the children is associated with significantly lower mortality of their parents, results that are consistent with prior studies. In addition, children’s higher occupational status and the highest income quintile are associated with significantly lower mortality of their parents.

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Presented in Session 71: SES, Health, and Mortality