The Educational Shock: A Natural Experiment Enlightening Mechanisms behind Educational Inequalities in Young-Adult Mortality between the 1990s and the 2000s in Belgium

Hannelore De Grande, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Patrick Deboosere, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Hadewijch Vandenheede, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

This study addresses trends in educational inequalities in young-adult mortality in Belgium. We put the last reform on compulsory education in 1983 to the test: did it increase educational attainment substantially and led to lower mortality rates? Analyses are restricted to a cohort of young adults aged 22 to 32 years preceding the 1983 reform and one succeeding it. Data are derived from record linkage between the Belgian censuses of 1991 and 2001 and register data on death and emigration with 5 years of follow-up. Absolute and relative mortality measures were calculated. A substantial increase in educational attainment is found for the cohorts experiencing the 1983 reform. There is a significant drop in young-adult mortality in both sexes. Inequality in mortality by educational level however increases in the 2000s compared to the 1990s, but the increase is partially a side effect of improved upstream equality.

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 Presented in Session P5. Adult Health and Mortality