Why Do Late Parents Live Longer?

Gabriele Doblhammer, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Previous research indicates that in contemporary populations women who give birth at ages 40+ experience lower mortality later in life. Whether this is due to biological or social factors is still unknown. One possibility to test this is to explore old age mortality of late fathers. We analyse post-reproductive mortality of late parents on the basis of the Danish population register. The data consist of a 28-year mortality follow-up of population aged 50-56 at the 1970 census. Late mothers as well as late fathers experience a mortality advantage later in life. However, the introduction of characteristics of the spouse attenuates the mortality advantage for males (RR late fathers: 0.98, p=0.54) but not for females (RR late mothers: 0.93, p=0.04). This result suggests that late fathers primarily benefit from family circumstances related to late parenthood while the mortality advantage of late mothers appears to be of a biological origin.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Aging