Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
Childhood disadvantage casts a long shadow on health trajectories over the life course, but little is known on how these associations vary by birth cohorts. This paper examines whether childhood disadvantage is associated with health trajectories and how cohort effects moderate the associations among Chinese elderly. Drawn data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS), I find inadequate access to health care, poor nutrition and no schooling during childhood are associated with poor health in late life, while birth in rural areas and having a father with lower occupational status are associated with better health. Cross-over health trajectories by birth cohorts indicate that being born in rural areas and having father in low SES are advantageous for older cohorts but disadvantageous among younger cohorts. Residential stratified analysis suggest that China’s rapid economic growth and unprecedented social inequality since late 1970s shaped late-life health distinctively for rural and rural elderly.