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Do unequal societies cause death among the elderly?: A study of the health effects of inequality in Swedish municipalities, 2006
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS). (Ageing and living conditions programme)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7439-002X
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Statistics. (Ageing and living conditions programme)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1561-4094
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography.
2013 (English)In: Global health action, ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 6, 19116- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: A lively public and academic debate has highlighted the potential health risk of living in regions and nations characterized by inequality. However, previous research provides an ambiguous picture, with positive association mainly having been found on higher geographical levels. One explanation for this could be that the effect of living in more heterogeneous social settings differs between levels of aggregation. 

Methods: We examine the association between income inequality (using the Gini coefficient) and all-cause mortality in Swedish municipalities in the age group 65-74. A multi-level analysis is applied and we control for e.g. individual income and average income level in the unicipality. The analyses are based on individual register data on all residents born between 1932 and 1941, and outcomes are measured for the year 2006.

Results: Lower individual income as well as lower average income level in the municipality of residence increased mortality significantly. We found an association between income inequality and mortality with excessive deaths in unequal municipalities even after controlling for mean income level and personal income. The results from the analysis of individual data differed substantially from analyses using aggregate data.

Conclusions: Income inequality has a significant association with mortality in the age groups 65 to 75 at municipality level. The association is small compared to many other variables, but it is not negligible. Even in a comparatively equal society like Sweden, we need to consider possible effects of income inequality on mortality at the local level. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
CoAction Publishing, 2013. Vol. 6, 19116- p.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-62186DOI: 10.3402/gha.v6i0.19116OAI: diva2:575648
Available from: 2012-12-10 Created: 2012-12-10 Last updated: 2016-06-08Bibliographically approved

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Edvinsson, SörenHäggström Lundevaller, ErlingMalmberg, Gunnar
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