Does the Number of Siblings Affect Health? Evidence from Swedish Register Data

Xavier de Luna, UmeƄ University

The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of the number of siblings on long term physical and mental health. The literature suggests that on the one hand, family size may dilute parental resources, but on the other hand, growing up in a large family may contribute to the development of the immune system and hence prevent diseases in adult life. We use record linkage data from Swedish Registers that provide rich information on family structure, socio-economic background and health outcomes of family members. We compare the results of propensity score matching and instrumental variable models in order to examine causal effects of family size on long term health. Our results indicate that growing up in a large family does not have a detrimental effect on health.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Adult Health and Mortality