Mortality Differentials by Religion in the U.S.

Allison R. Sullivan, University of Pennsylvania

This paper examines the relationship between adult mortality and religious affiliation in the contemporary U.S. using data from the Health and Retirement Study. Jews and Mainline Protestants have longer life expectancies, even when controlling for background characteristics such as gender and race. I test whether these mortality differences can be attributed to differences in education, health behaviors, or psychosocial support. The first two reduce but do not eliminate mortality differences. The effect of psychosocial support, measured separately by attendance and importance, varies dramatically by religion. These results show that studies examining the effect of “religiosity” on health and mortality need to consider differences by religious affiliation.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 6