Are the Young Becoming More Disabled?

31 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2001 Last revised: 21 Oct 2010

See all articles by Darius N. Lakdawalla

Darius N. Lakdawalla

University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics; RAND Corporation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dana P. Goldman

RAND Corporation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jay Bhattacharya

Stanford University - Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 2001

Abstract

A fair amount of research suggests that health has been improving among the elderly over the past 10 to 15 years. Comparatively little research effort, however, has been focused on analyzing disability among the young. In this paper, we argue that health among the young has been deteriorating, at the same time that the elderly have been becoming healthier. Moreover, this growth in disability may end up translating into higher disability rates for tomorrow's elderly. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, we find that, from 1984 to 1996, the rate of disability among those in their 40s rose by one full percentage point, or almost forty percent. Over the same period, the rate of disability declined for the elderly. The recent growth in disability has coincided with substantial growth in asthma and diabetes among the young. Indeed, the growth in asthma alone seems more than enough to explain the change in disability. Therefore, we argue that the growth in disability stems from real changes in underlying health status.

Suggested Citation

Lakdawalla, Darius N. and Goldman, Dana P. and Bhattacharya, Jayanta, Are the Young Becoming More Disabled? (April 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8247. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=267434

Darius N. Lakdawalla (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics ( email )

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RAND Corporation ( email )

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Dana P. Goldman

RAND Corporation ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Jayanta Bhattacharya

Stanford University - Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research ( email )

Center for Health Policy
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United States
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650-723-1919 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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