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People are having children later in life. The consequences for offspring adult survival have been little studied due to the need for long follow-up linked to parental data and most research has considered offspring survival only in early life. We used Swedish registry data to examine all-cause and cause-specific adult mortality (293,470 deaths among 5,204,433 people, followed up to a maximum of 80 years old) in relation to parental age. For most common causes of death adult survival was improved in the offspring of older parents (HR for all-cause survival was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.96, 0.97) and 0.98 (0.97, 0.98) per five years of maternal and paternal age, respectively). The childhood environment provided by older parents may more than compensate for any physiological disadvantages. Within-family analyses suggested stronger benefits of advanced parental age. This emphasises the importance of secular trends; a parent’s later children were born into a wealthier, healthier world. Sibling-comparison analyses can best assess individual family planning choices, but our results suggested a vulnerability to selection bias when there is extensive censoring. We consider the numerous causal and non-causal mechanisms which can link parental age and offspring survival, and the difficulty of separating them with currently available data.