Do unequal societies cause death and disease?: A study of the health effects on elderly of inequality in Swedish municipalities, 2006
2011 (English)Report (Other academic)
A lively public and academic debate has highlighted the potential health risk of living in regions and nations characterized by inequality (Wilkinson and Pickett 2007; 2009). It is argued that inequality may add to increasing health differentials over the life course. However, previous research provides so far an ambiguous picture. One explanation could be that the effect of living in more heterogeneous social settings may differ between levels of aggregation. A hypothesis is that homogeneity is positive on the national or regional level, while on a lower level of aggregation living in homogeneous settings could be detrimental for health, at least in poor neighborhoods.
In this paper we present the preliminary results of our examination on how residence in unequal versus homogeneous areas is associated with health outcome of elderly people in Sweden. These first results are based on municipality level data on individuals born between 1932 and 1941 and the outcome is measured for the year 2006. Furthermore, we analyze the effect on health of income inequality (measured by Gini-coefficient) as compared to the effect of individual income and the average income level in the area. We analysed the associations both with individual-level and multi-level analysis. Our main finding is that inequality has an independent effect on mortality in the way that unequal municipalities have excessive deaths even after controlling for mean income level and personal income. This result was found not only in the individual-level analysis but also in the multilevel analysis.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2011.
National CategorySocial Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-51702OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-51702DiVA: diva2:487416
Paper presented at the 36 th annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Boston 17-20 November 2011.
Research in this report is performed within the research program Ageing and Living Conditions at the Centre for Population Studies, Umeå University, Sweden, financed by the Swedish Research Council, project number 349-2008-6592.2012-04-172012-01-312012-04-17Bibliographically approved