On The Use and Misuse of Socioeconomic Status: A Study of Mortality Among the Elderly

TitleOn The Use and Misuse of Socioeconomic Status: A Study of Mortality Among the Elderly
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsDonahue, D
PublisherPopulation Association of America
CityUniv. of Texas at Austin Population Research Cente
KeywordsDemographics, Employment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status, Methodology

Abstract: Examined the effects of occupation on mortality among older adults, with an emphasis on how these effects relate to other measures of socioeconomic status (SES) such as income, wealth and assets, and education. Data were obtained from the Asset and Health Dynamics of the Oldest Old (AHEAD) survey on 7,441 adults aged 70 and older (mean age 77.48) in regard to 10 categories of occupations (including those who had never worked) and various measures of SES. Although the measures are crude, primary lifetime occupation was found to be as strong a predictor of mortality as traditional measures of SES. Further analysis of the effects of education found that although educational status is a significant predictor of mortality in simple hazard models, it acts fundamentally as a proxy for other SES measures. The results suggest that data availability and statistical convenience have led to the overuse of such measures as education as proxies for SES, to the detriment of more refined SES measures that are more directly proximate to individual differences in behavior, lifestyle, and financial resources.

Endnote Keywords

socioeconomic status/mortality/Methodology/Occupations/EDUCATION

Endnote ID


Citation Key5276