Journal Article

Preterm births and educational disadvantage: heterogeneous effects across families and schools

Baranowska-Rataj, A., Barclay, K. J., Costa-i-Font, J., Myrskylä, M., Özcan, B.
Population Studies, 1–16 (2022)
Open Access


Although preterm births are the leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality in advanced economies, evidence about the consequences of such births later in life is limited. Using Swedish register data on cohorts born 1982-1994 (N=1,087,750), we examine the effects of preterm births on school grades measured at age 16 using sibling fixed-effect models. We further examine how preterm births are affected by the degree of prematurity and the compensating role of family socioeconomic resources and characteristics of school districts. Our results show that the negative effects of preterm births are confined to children born extremely preterm (<28 weeks). Children born moderately preterm (32-<37 weeks) suffer no ill effects. We do not find any evidence for the moderating effect of parental socioeconomic resources. Extremely preterm children in the top decile of school districts have as good grades as full-term children in an average school district.

Keywords: Sweden
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.