Aging in the USA: Similarities and Disparities Across Time and Space

30 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2019

See all articles by Ana Abeliansky

Ana Abeliansky

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Devin Erel

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Holger Strulik

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - School of Law, Economics, Social Sciences

Date Written: October 7, 2019

Abstract

We study biological aging of elderly U.S. Americans born 1904-1966. We use thirteen waves of the Health and Retirement Study and construct a health deficit index as the number of health deficits present in a person measured relative to the number of potential deficits. We find that, on average, Americans develop 5 percent more health deficits per year, that men age slightly faster than women, and that, at any age above 50, Caucasians display significantly less health deficits than African Americans. We also document a steady time trend of health improvements. For each year of later birth, health deficits decline on average by about 1 percent. This health trend is about the same across regions and for men and women, but significantly lower for African Americans compared to Caucasians. In non-linear regressions, we find that regional differences in aging follow a particular regularity, akin to the compensation effect of mortality. Health deficits converge for men and women and across American regions and suggest a life span of the American population of about 97 years.

Keywords: health, aging, health deficit index, United States

JEL Classification: I10, I19, J14, N32

Suggested Citation

Abeliansky, Ana and Erel, Devin and Strulik, Holger, Aging in the USA: Similarities and Disparities Across Time and Space (October 7, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3465597 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3465597

Ana Abeliansky (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Devin Erel

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Holger Strulik

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - School of Law, Economics, Social Sciences ( email )

Germany

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