Velkommen til SSBs forskningsseminar

Björn Eriksson
21. november 2017
11.45 - 12.45
Møterom Befolkning


Björn Eriksson: Center for Economic Demography, Lund University

SES and Adult Life Expectancy in Early Twentieth-Century Sweden: Evidence from Full-Count Micro Census Data 

All over the developed world there is a clear socioeconomic status (SES) gradient in health and mortality for adults, whether measured by income, education or social class. These mortality differentials have also widened since the 1970s in the countries for which there are data. Our knowledge about conditions in the more distant past is much more rudimentary and uncertain and we do not know when and why the mortality gradient emerged. To a large extent this is due to lack of data allowing an individual-level analysis of SES and mortality before the introduction of modern, digitized population registers. In this paper we study differences in life expectancy at age 60 by SES, controlling for spatial heterogeneity. The analysis is based on individual level mortality data covering the entire population of Sweden, which have been linked to the full count Swedish censuses of 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910. Linkage is based on probabilistic linking methods. Using data on occupation we measure SES by HISCLASS and HISCAM. Our findings show that upper- and upper-middle class men had shorter life expectancy at age 60 than the working class, and that farmers had the longest life expectancy of all groups. For women the pattern was very different, with longest life expectancy for the high-status groups, and the shortest for low status groups. These results are robust to the inclusion of spatial controls, including urban residence, and support previous research, which has suggested that today’s pattern of mortality inequality by SES is of a recent origin coinciding with the development of modern medicine and welfare society. Our results also point to life style factors, and especially tobacco smoking, as a likely mechanism.


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