Life-Course Transitions in Rural Residence and Old-Age Mortality in Iowa, 1930–2014

Evan Roberts, Wendy Rahn, Deann Lazovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Early-life conditions are associated with mortality in men, but not studied to the same extent in women. We add new evidence by studying a cohort of women born between 1916 and 1931 and followed for mortality between 1986 and 2013. Our sample from Iowa includes a significant number of rural women, from both farms and small towns. The long-term effects of growing up in a rural area were mixed: farmers’ daughters lived longer than women growing up off-farm in rural areas. Daughters of farm laborers and skilled or semiskilled trades workers fared worst, when considering early-life socioeconomic status. We also find evidence that migrating to small-town Iowa was associated with lower life expectancy after age fifty-five. Considering social class and farm-nonfarm status is important for understanding the health of rural America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-124
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research for supporting data collection through a Grant in Aid (#23111), and gratefully acknowledge support from the Minnesota Population Center (P2C HD041023) funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Shannyn Telander and Leah Engelman provided valuable exemplary research assistance with the record linkage. We thank the subjects of the Iowa Women’s

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Russell Sage Foundation. Roberts, Evan, Wendy Rahn, and DeAnn Lazovich. 2022.


  • early-life conditions
  • longitudinal studies
  • migration
  • mortality
  • rural populations


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