Parental Socioeconomic Status and Children’s Early Life Mortality Risk in the 21st Century United States

David Braudt , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Elizabeth Lawrence, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Andrea Tilstra, University of Colorado Boulder
Richard G. Rogers, University of Colorado Boulder
Robert Hummer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

We examine the association between parental socioeconomic status (SES) and mortality among children and youth (ages 1-24) in the United States from 1999-2015 using individual-level measures of SES using data from the National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality Files, restricted to youth ages 1-17 at the time of survey (N=377,252) followed through age 24, or the end of the follow-up period. Children and youth raised in families with lower levels of any of the three measures of parental SES (mother’s education, father’s education, and family income-to-needs ratio) exhibit significantly higher mortality risk compared with children and youth living in higher SES households. Increases in parental educational attainment are associated with significant decreases in mortality risk due accidental cause of death. However, these patterns do not carry over to other cause-specific mortality risks. Today’s children and youth experience vastly different mortality risk depending on the SES of their parents.

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 Presented in Session 89. Socioeconomic Status and Health