Family Processes and Changing Educational Gradients in Smoking

Vida Maralani, Yale University

This paper describes how families of origin differ by parents' education and smoking status and how this has changed across birth cohorts of Americans. Part one describes trends in assortative mating by education and smoking status for cohorts born between 1930 and 1970. Part two describes cohort trends in parental education and smoking status at first birth. The results show that, across cohorts, men who smoke become more likely to marry women who smoke, especially among couples with less schooling. This alignment of education and smoking status continues between the time of first marriage and first birth. Among couples where at least one spouse smokes, the likelihood of quitting by the first birth is higher among those with more schooling and this educational gap grows across cohorts. This alignment of education and smoking suggests that families of origin are becoming more unequal across important predictors of social status and health.

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Presented in Session 111: Socioeconomic Differentials in Health and Mortality