Hybrid Format

How Major Risk Factors Influence US Mortality Trends, 1997-2019

Yana Vierboom
Laboratory of Population Health, December 06, 2022

Yana Vierboom from the Laboratory of Population Health answers the question how socio-behavioral factors contribute to recent levels and changes in US mortality.


How do socio-behavioral factors contribute to recent levels and changes in US mortality? We use the National Health Interview Surveys for years 1997-2018, linked to death records through 2019, to investigate the changing contribution of risk factors to overall mortality levels. Risk factors include alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, educational attainment, health insurance coverage, mental distress, and obesity. Using multivariate hazards models and a regression decomposition, we compare contributions over time. Of the factors considered, reductions in cigarette smoking and increases in educational attainment are the largest contributors to recent mortality improvements. Their contribution remained roughly constant and sizeable, even as improvements in mortality slowed. The factors investigated cannot, however, explain a slowdown in the rate of US mortality improvement, although rising levels of mental distress contribute to the explanation.

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Online Seminar Talk, December, 6th from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (Rostock time)

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.