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A comparative appraisal of the relationship of education, income and housing tenure with less than good health among the elderly in Europe


  • Dalstra, J.A.A.
  • Kunst, A.E.
  • Mackenbach, J.P.


The objective of this study was to determine the strength of various socio-economic indicators for predicting less than good health among elderly people aged 60-79 years. Data were obtained from national health surveys from 10 European countries. Education, income and housing tenure were examined in relation to less than good health using standardised prevalence rates and (multiple) logistic regression analyses. The results illustrated that there are substantial health differences among the elderly according to education and income in each country. Both education and income (with men) showed a strong independent relationship with health status. Health differences according to housing tenure were generally somewhat smaller. However, in Great Britain and the Netherlands housing tenure demonstrated large health differences, even after adjustment for education and income. It is recommended that more refined socio-economic measures are developed and that in the meantime both education and income are used when studying socio-economic health differences among the elderly. In some countries, like Great Britain and the Netherlands, however, housing tenure has an additional value.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalstra, J.A.A. & Kunst, A.E. & Mackenbach, J.P., 2006. "A comparative appraisal of the relationship of education, income and housing tenure with less than good health among the elderly in Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2046-2060, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:62:y:2006:i:8:p:2046-2060

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martelin, Tuija, 1994. "Mortality by indicators of socioeconomic status among the finnish elderly," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1257-1278, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Crespo-Cebada, Eva & Urbanos-Garrido, Rosa M., 2012. "Equity and equality in the use of GP services for elderly people: The Spanish case," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 193-199.
    2. Hoeck, Sarah & François, Guido & Van der Heyden, Johan & Geerts, Joanna & Van Hal, Guido, 2011. "Healthcare utilisation among the Belgian elderly in relation to their socio-economic status," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 174-182, February.
    3. M. Azhar Hussain & Mette Møller Jørgensen & Lars Peter Østerdal, 2016. "Refining Population Health Comparisons: A Multidimensional First Order Dominance Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 739-759, November.
    4. Elisabetta Santarelli & Anna De Pascale, "undated". "Economic, housing conditions and health of old people in Italy: evidence from EU-SILC," Working Papers 99/12, Sapienza University of Rome, Metodi e modelli per l'economia, il territorio e la finanza MEMOTEF.
    5. Laaksonen, Mikko & Tarkiainen, Lasse & Martikainen, Pekka, 2009. "Housing wealth and mortality: A register linkage study of the Finnish population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 754-760, September.
    6. Yang Liu & Mei Wang & Jorma Tynjälä & Jari Villberg & Yan Lv & Lasse Kannas, 2013. "Socioeconomic inequalities in alcohol use of adolescents: the differences between China and Finland," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 58(2), pages 177-185, April.
    7. Virginia Zarulli, 2016. "Unobserved Heterogeneity of Frailty in the Analysis of Socioeconomic Differences in Health and Mortality," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(1), pages 55-72, February.


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