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Trends in the association between average income, poverty and income inequality and life expectancy in Spain


  • Regidor, Enrique
  • Calle, M. Elisa
  • Navarro, Pedro
  • Domínguez, Vicente


In this paper, we study the relation between life expectancy and both average income and measures of income inequality in 1980 and 1990, using the 17 Spanish regions as units of analysis. Average income was measured as average total income per household. The indicators of income inequality used were three measures of relative poverty--the percentage of households with total income less than 25%, 40% and 50% of the average total household income--the Gini index and the Atkinson indices with parameters [alpha]=1, 1.5 and 2. Pearson and partial correlation coefficients were used to evaluate the association between average income and measures of income inequality and life expectancy. None of the correlation coefficients for the association between life expectancy and average household income was significant for men. The association between life expectancy and average household income in women, adjusted for any of the measures of income inequality, was significant in 1980, although this association decreased or disappeared in 1990 after adjusting for measures of poverty. In both men and women, the partial correlation coefficients between life expectancy and the measures of relative income adjusted for average income were positive in 1980 and negative in 1990, although none of them was significant. The results with regard to women confirm the hypothesis that life expectancy in the developed countries has become more dissociated from average income level and more associated with income inequality. The absence of a relation in men in 1990 may be due to the large impact of premature mortality from AIDS in regions with the highest average total income per household and/or smallest income inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Regidor, Enrique & Calle, M. Elisa & Navarro, Pedro & Domínguez, Vicente, 2003. "Trends in the association between average income, poverty and income inequality and life expectancy in Spain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 961-971, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:5:p:961-971

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    Cited by:

    1. Karlsdotter, Kristina & Martín Martín, José J. & López del Amo González, M. Puerto, 2012. "Multilevel analysis of income, income inequalities and health in Spain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1099-1106.
    2. Barnett, Ross & Pearce, Jamie & Moon, Graham, 2005. "Does social inequality matter? Changing ethnic socio-economic disparities and Maori smoking in New Zealand, 1981-1996," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 1515-1526, April.
    3. Murat Çiftçi, 2015. "The Loss of Social Welfare From Interregional Inequality in Russian Production," Eurasian Studies Journal, Eurasian Academy Of Sciences, vol. 1(1), pages 20-40, May.
    4. Chen, Zhuo & Gotway Crawford, Carol A., 2012. "The role of geographic scale in testing the income inequality hypothesis as an explanation of health disparities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 1022-1031.
    5. Wilkinson, Richard G & Pickett, Kate E., 2006. "Income inequality and population health: A review and explanation of the evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1768-1784, April.
    6. Costa-Font, Joan & Hernández-Quevedo, Cristina, 2012. "Measuring inequalities in health: What do we know? What do we need to know?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 195-206.
    7. Cristina Blanco Pérez & Xavier Ramos, 2010. "Polarization And Health," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(1), pages 171-185, March.
    8. Timo-Kolja Pfoertner & Hans-Juergen Andress & Christian Janssen, 2011. "Income or living standard and health in Germany: different ways of measurement of relative poverty with regard to self-rated health," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 56(4), pages 373-384, August.
    9. Murat Çiftçi, 2015. "Regional Inequality of Sport Facilities in Turkey," Eurasian Academy Of Sciences Social Sciences Journal, Eurasian Academy Of Sciences, vol. 4(4), pages 49-66, July.


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