Volume 42 - Article 12 | Pages 383–398  

The role of education in explaining trends in self-rated health in the United States, 1972–2018

By Jona Schellekens, Anat Ziv


Background: The percentage of older adults in the United States reporting being in good health has increased since the 1980s.

Objective: This study tries to explain long-term trends in self-rated health in the United States.

Methods: We used 47 years of repeated cross-sectional data from the National Health Interview Survey to estimate regression models that predict trends in self-rated health.

Results: Our results show that the improvement in self-rated health of men as well as women aged 50–84 is largely explained by gains in educational attainment. Self-rated health has slightly improved among those with post-secondary education, while it did not improve among those without post-secondary education.

Contribution: This study is one of the few to try to explain long-term trends in self-rated health. It does so for a much longer period of time than any previous study.

Author's Affiliation

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