Defining thirds of schooling years in population studies

Eur J Epidemiol. 2007;22(8):487-92. doi: 10.1007/s10654-007-9144-z. Epub 2007 Jun 13.


When the schooling years are compared between individuals having different birth years, the steep rise in schooling years in the 20th century must be taken into account. The problem has particular importance in large international population studies, such as the WHO MONICA Project and its successor, the MORGAM Project. We present an algorithm that divides the individuals into three groups on the basis of the schooling years while preserving smooth behavior of the cut-points between consecutive birth years. The usage of method is demonstrated with data from Finland, Italy, Lithuania, and Scotland, which have different patterns of the estimated tertiles of schooling years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Algorithms
  • Cohort Studies*
  • Educational Status*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • World Health Organization