The Demographics of Self-rated Health: A Systematic Analysis of the Dynamics of Who Reports What When (and Why)

Dean R. Lillard, The Ohio State University
Dongyue Ying , The Ohio State University

We use Panel Study of Income Dynamics data to investigate what level of self-reported health (SRH) an individual reports at a given time and how that level systematically varies with particular health events, past and future. We model SRH as a function of the past because current health at any time is a reflection of a long series of past investments and health production. We rely on this idea when we model SRH because, as in the literature on mortality, if SRH conveys information, then observed differences in SRH must predict future health conditions and events. This work builds on earlier evidence showing that early childhood exposure to income inequality is correlated with worse SRH in later life (Lillard et al. 2015; Burkhauser et al. 2016). We describe SRH and it’s evolution for the general population, by age, sex, and race and how SRH has evolved over time.


 Presented in Session 114. The Life Course Origins of Self-rated Health