Education and Elderly Health in South Korea: A Demographic Approach

Bongoh Kye, Cornell University
Erika Arenas, University of California, Los Angeles

Increases in educational attainment lead to changes in demographic behaviors such as assortative mating, fertility, and intergenerational transmission of education. These changes affect the health and education of the elderly and their offspring. We examine this jointly changing process in South Korea. Our results point to three conclusions. First, improvements in education lead to improvements in health conditions among the elderly. Intermediate demographic factors make positive contributions to this improvement. Second, increases in education lead to a decline in the ratios of offspring to the elderly because better educated people have fewer children. Third, improvements in education increase the ratios of the college-educated offspring to the unhealthy elderly because of improvements in offspring’s education and elderly health. The results suggest that improvements in education change configurations of the elderly and their offspring’s generations, mitigating the negative consequences of population aging such as decreasing productivity and increasing burdens of elderly support.

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Presented in Poster Session 5