Consistency of Age Reporting on Death Certificates and Social Security Administration Records Among Elderly African-American Decedents
Social Security Administration
Demography, Population, and Ecology
Family, Life Course, and Society
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This paper investigates the quality of age reporting in vital statistics and Social Security/Medicare data among elderly African-Americans. The authors examine whether the death certificate or Social Security age is more likely to reflect accurately the decedents' true age at death by matching their sample to the US Censuses of 1900, 1910 and 1920, and identify factors associated with consistency of age reporting on death certificates and social security records. The results reveal significant discrepancies in age at death data. Birth record availability and literacy were identified as key predictors of age agreement. The match to an early-life census record showed greater agreement with Social Security age than with death certificate age at death. The results have implications for the collection of age information in surveys of elderly African-Americans.