Volume 29 - Article 19 | Pages 507–520

Minor gradient in mortality by education at the highest ages: An application of the Extinct-Cohort method

By Roland Rau, Magdalena Muszyńska-Spielauer, Paul Eilers

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Date received:28 Mar 2013
Date published:17 Sep 2013
Word count:1900
Keywords:extinct cohort, oldest old mortality, socioeconomic differentials


Background: Socioeconomic mortality differentials are known to exist almost universally. Many studies show a trend towards convergence with increasing age. Information about the highest ages is very rare, though.

Objective: We want to find out whether socioeconomic factors determine the chance of death in the United States among the oldest people.

Methods: Based on official death count records, we employ the extinct cohort method to estimate the age-specific probability of dying by level of education.

Results: We present evidence that socioeconomic differentials in mortality exist even at the highest ages (95+), although the gap is small.

Comments: To our knowledge, this is the first population-based study to analyze socioeconomic mortality differentials at ages 95 and higher. We present, furthermore, a novel field of application for the extinct cohort method.

Author's Affiliation

Roland Rau - Universität Rostock, Germany [Email]
Magdalena Muszyńska-Spielauer - Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, OeAW, University of Vienna), Austria [Email]
Paul Eilers - Erasmus University Medical Center, the Netherlands [Email]

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