Season of birth, health and aging

Ana Lucia Abeliansky, Holger Strulik

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


We investigate how the season of birth is related to human health and aging. For this purpose, we use five waves of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) dataset and construct a health deficit index for 21 European countries. Results from log-linear regressions suggest that, on average, elderly European men age faster when they were born in spring and summer (compared to autumn). At any given age, they have developed about 3.5 percent more health deficits. These differences due to seasons of birth are not mediated by body height and education. In a subsample of Southern European countries, where the seasonal variation of sunlight is smaller, the birth season plays an insignificant role for health in old age. In a subsample of Northern countries, in contrast, the season of birth coefficients increase. At any given age, elderly Northern European men born in spring have developed, on average, 8.7 percent more health deficits than those born in autumn. In non-linear regressions we find that the speed of aging is also associated with the birth season.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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