The Effect of Number of Siblings on Mortality Risk: Evidence from Swedish Register Data

Anna Baranowska-Rataj, UmeƄ University

Demographic research has paid a lot of attention to the impact of childhood conditions on adult mortality. This paper focuses on one of the key aspects of early life conditions, i.e. family size, and to examine the causal effect of growing up in a large family on mortality risk. We use Swedish register data and a quasi-experimental approach that exploits multiple births as a source of exogenous variation in the number of siblings. While previous studies have examined the effects of family size on health and mortality in low or middle income countries, we show whether growing up in a large family may be considered as a disadvantage in a country context where the resources of most parents are not dramatically scarce and are complemented by a generous welfare state. Overall our results indicate a significant, but rather small, effect of number of siblings on mortality.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Adult Health and Mortality