Accounting for the Widening Mortality Gap Between Adult Americans with and without a BA / Anne Case, Angus Deaton.

Case, Anne [Browse]
Cambridge, Mass. National Bureau of Economic Research 2023.
1 online resource: illustrations (black and white);


  • Working Paper Series (National Bureau of Economic Research) no. w31236. [More in this series]
  • NBER working paper series no. w31236
Summary note
We examine mortality differences between Americans with and without a four-year college degree over the period 1992 to 2021. From 1992 to 2010, both groups saw falling mortality, but with greater improvements for the more educated; from 2010 to 2019, mortality fell for those with a BA and rose for those without; from 2019 to 2021, mortality rose for both groups, but more rapidly for the less educated. In consequence, the mortality gap between the two groups rose in all three periods, unevenly until 2010, faster between 2010 to 2019, and explosively during the pandemic. The overall period saw dramatic changes in patterns of mortality, but gaps rose consistently, not only in all-cause mortality, but in each of thirteen broad classifications of cause of death. Gaps increased for causes of death whose rates have risen in the last thirty years, whose rates have fallen in the last thirty years, and whose rates fell and then rose. Gaps rose for causes where rates were originally higher for those without a BA, and where rates were originally lower for those without a BA. Although mechanisms and stories are different for each cause of death, the widening gap is seen throughout.
May 2023.
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