Volume 42 - Article 32 | Pages 875–900  

Calloused hands, shorter life? Occupation and older-age survival in Mexico

By Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez, Noreen Goldman, Anne Pebley, Josefina Flores

Abstract

Background: Inequalities in mortality are often attributed to socioeconomic differences in education level, income, and wealth. Low socioeconomic status (SES) is generally related to worse health and survival across the life course. Yet, disadvantaged people are also more likely to hold jobs requiring heavy physical labor, repetitive movement, ergonomic strain, and safety hazards.

Objective: We examine the link between primary lifetime occupation, together with education and net worth, on survival among older adults in Mexico.

Methods: We use data from four waves (2001, 2003, 2012, and 2015) of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS). We estimate age-specific mortality rates for ages 50 and over using a hazards model based on a two-parameter Gompertz function.

Results: Primary lifetime occupations have a stronger association with survival for women than men. Women with higher socioeconomic status have significantly lower mortality rates than lower status women, whether SES is assessed in terms of schooling, wealth, or occupation. Occupational categories are not jointly related to survival among men, even without controls for education and wealth. There are significant survival differences by wealth among men, but no disparities in mortality by education.

Conclusions: Consistent with recent studies of the Mexican population, we fail to find the expected gradient in the association between some measures of SES and better survival among men.

Contribution: Our estimates extend this anomalous pattern among Mexican men to another dimension of SES, occupation. SES differentials in mortality are substantially larger for Mexican women, highlighting an important gender disparity.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Life expectancy loss among Native Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 47 - Article 9

COVID-19 risk factors and mortality among Native Americans
Volume 45 - Article 39

Impact of delayed effects on human old-age mortality
Volume 40 - Article 41

Self-Reported Versus Performance-Based Measures of Physical Function: Prognostic Value for Survival
Volume 30 - Article 7

An integrated approach to cause-of-death analysis: cause-deleted life tables and decompositions of life expectancy
Volume 19 - Article 35

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Measuring short-term mobility patterns in North America using Facebook advertising data, with an application to adjusting COVID-19 mortality rates
Volume 50 - Article 10    | Keywords: COVID-19, data collection, Facebook, mortality, North America, short-term mobility

Immigrant mortality advantage in the United States during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 50 - Article 7    | Keywords: COVID-19, immigrants, mortality

Measuring the educational gradient of period fertility in 28 European countries: A new approach based on parity-specific fertility estimates
Volume 49 - Article 34    | Keywords: education, Europe, period fertility, quantum, tempo, total fertility rate (TFR)

A Bayesian model for the reconstruction of education- and age-specific fertility rates: An application to African and Latin American countries
Volume 49 - Article 31    | Keywords: age, Bayesian analysis, education, fertility estimation, fertility rates

Adolescence in flux: Unmasking 30 years of change in subnational parity-specific adolescent fertility in Mexico
Volume 49 - Article 15    | Keywords: adolescent fertility, Mexico, parity progression ratios, subnational, teenage childbearing