Adult Mortality and the Effects of Sibship Size, Birth Order, and Age of Parents at Birth

Ken R. Smith, University of Utah
Geraldine P. Mineau, University of Utah
Lee Bean, University of Utah

We examine simultaneously how three distinct but inter-related features of childhood affect the mortality risks of those children in adulthood: sibship size, birth order, and age of parents when a child was born. We know little about how these childhood characteristics affect adult mortality nor do we know whether their effects are confounded with one another. We extend this line of inquiry by using data on siblings from genealogical data drawn from the Utah Population Database. We present data and analysis that address three sets of fundamental questions: (1) Do children's sibship size, birth order, and age of parents at birth affect their risk of mortality during adulthood? (2) Do these effects differ by gender of child and, in the case of parental age, gender of parent? (3) How are these effects altered when shared unobserved heterogeneity is taken into account?

Presented in Session 152: Early Life Conditions and Later Health Outcomes