This paper examines the extent to which an individual's income-status position relative to that of others in the same cohort is maintained over the later life course. Changes in the income status of individuals born between 1924 and 1928 are estimated by means of synthetic cohort methods. Using a series of cross-sectional data files from every fifth Survey of Consumer Finances, starting in 1978, the findings show that, from ages 50 to 64, persons of this birth cohort with early-life socio-economic status advantages (namely high education) improve their absolute and relative income status position vis-à-vis others with status disadvantages. For ages 65 to 74, the economic well-being of individuals with status advantages and disadvantages converge. Since Canada's public pension programs are relatively well developed in terms of comprehensiveness and generosity, they do a good job at countering the effects of status background characteristics on the distribution of income in old age. In the absence of these programs (i.e., up to age 64), the relative position of those with high education and other advantaged groups is strengthened.

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Keywords Aging, Cohort analysis, Income inequality, Status maintenance
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Journal Canadian Journal on Aging
Prus, S.G. (2002). Changes in income within a cohort over the later life course: Evidence for income status convergence. Canadian Journal on Aging, 21(4), 495–504. doi:10.1017/S071498080000204X