Risk of Parental Death across the Life Course

Zachary Scherer, U.S. Census Bureau
Edward Berchick , U.S. Census Bureau
Rose M. Kreider, U.S. Census Bureau

Relatively little is known about the risk of parental death across the life course, despite its importance for wellbeing. A fair amount of demographic research has described the ways in which parental transfers to adult children (and from adult children to their parents) affect economic circumstances, as well as physical and mental health. This research, however, has not considered the risk of a child having a parent alive–-and, reciprocally, the risk of parental death–-across adulthood. Additionally, socioeconomic differences in mortality and fertility across race/origin, nativity, educational attainment, and income likely mean that patterns of parental death vary across the U.S. population in ways that could reproduce inequality. In this paper, we fill this gap in the literature and estimate the risk of parental death across the life course using data from the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). We pay particular attention to differences in this life course pattern across key social and demographic groups.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course