Intersectional cohort change: Disparities in mobility limitations among older Singaporeans


Mobility is fundamental to independent living, but past research on physical function and mobility in older adults has not considered both intersectional social identities and cohort change in tandem. This paper utilizes data on mobility limitations from older adults in multi-ethnic Singapore to test whether cohort change varies simultaneously by gender and ethnicity. Panel data (n = 9334 person-years) collected over six years (2009–2015) were used to estimate aging vector models. Findings show that after adjusting for all covariates, Malay and Indian males in later-born cohorts have an increased number of mobility limitations compared to earlier-born cohorts. While a similar trend was also found for Chinese males and females in unconditional models, these were fully mediated by sociodemographic and health variables. These results highlight the importance of considering cohort change at the intersection of gender and ethnicity, bringing attention to possible inequities between ethnic groups.

In Social Science and Medicine