A Multi-Level Study of Income Inequality and Self-Rated Health in Northern Sweden
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Background: Income inequality has been increasing in Sweden over the last 20 years. The
effects of income inequality on health especially in the Northern Sweden have not been
studied. This study hence investigates the effects of personal income, income inequality and
average income in municipalities on self-rated health in the Northern Sweden.
Methods: The data is drawn from the Swedish Public Health Survey Health on Equal Terms
(HET) 2014 and includes residents of Norrland counties (Västerbotten, Västernorrland,
Jämtland and Norrbotten) aged 16 – 85 years. The sample consists of 25,646 individuals
nested within 44 municipalities of Norrland counties. Five multi-level logistic regression
models are used to assess the association between income inequality and self-rated health.
Key Findings: Personal income is significantly association with self-rated health showing a
gradient. The odds of reporting poor health are 2.47 times among the poorest compared to
the richest. The odds increase from 27% in the second richest quintile to 147% in the poorest
quintile. Municipality income inequality is also associated with self-rated health. The most
unequal municipalities had a 15% reduced odds of reporting poor health and no association
between average income at municipality level and health was found. Compositional factors
explain most of the variation in self-rated health, as there was no clustering of self-rated
health by municipalities.
Conclusion: There is an inverse association between personal income inequality and selfrated
health. Income inequality at municipality level showed a protective effect against poor
health. In Northern Sweden, there exist no contextual effect of income inequality on selfrated
health but rather the composition of the municipalities could explain the association
between income inequality and health.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 43 p.
Centre for Public Health Report Series, ISSN 1651-341x ; 2016:14
Income Inequality; Sweden; Norrland; Self-rated Health; Health Inequalities;
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-131504OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-131504DiVA: diva2:1074641
Landstingen i Västerbotten, Västernorrland, Jämtland och Norrbotten
Master's Programme in Public Health
2016-05-24, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 11:33 (English)
Mosquera Mendez, Paola, Postdoc
San Sebastian, Miguel, Professor