Socioeconomic Inequalities in All-cause and Specific-cause Mortality in Australia: 1985-87 and 1995-97

Turrell, Gavin & Mathers, Colin D. (2001) Socioeconomic Inequalities in All-cause and Specific-cause Mortality in Australia: 1985-87 and 1995-97. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(2), pp. 231-239.

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Background. Socioeconomic inequalities in mortality have been repeatedly observed in Britain, the United States, and Europe, and in some countries, there is evidence that the differentials are widening. This study describes trends in socioeconomic mortality inequality in Australia for males and females aged 0-14, 15-24 and 25-64 years over the period 1985-87 to 1995-97. Methods. SES was operationalised using the Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage, an area based measure developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Mortality differentials were examined using age-standardised rates, and mortality inequality was assessed using rate ratios, gini coefficients, and a measure of excess mortality. Results. For both periods, and for each sex/age sub-group, mortality rates were highest in the most disadvantaged areas. The extent and nature of socioeconomic mortality inequality differed for males and females and for each age group: both increases and decreases in mortality inequality were observed, and for some causes, the degree of inequality remained unchanged. If it were possible to reduce death rates among the SES areas to a level equivalent to that of the least disadvantaged area, premature all–cause mortality for males in the three age groups would be lower by 22%, 28% and 26% respectively, and for females, 35%, 70% and 56%. Conclusions. The mortality burden in the Australian population attributable to socioeconomic inequality is large, and has profound and far-reaching implications in terms of the unnecessary loss of life, the loss of potentially economically productive members of society, and increased costs for the health care system. Keywords: Socioeconomic status, mortality inequality, Australia, area-based measures.

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ID Code: 8140
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Socioeconomic status, mortality inequality, Australia, area, based measures
ISSN: 0300-5771
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 Oxford Journals
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 19 Jun 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:41

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