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The equalisation hypothesis and changes in geographical inequalities of age based mortality in England, 2002–2004 to 2008–2010


  • Green, Mark A.


The equalisation hypothesis argues that during adolescence and early adulthood, inequality in mortality declines and begins to even out. However the evidence for this phenomenon is contested and mainly based on old data. This study proposes to examine how age-specific inequalities in mortality rates have changed over the past decade, during a time of widening health inequalities. To test this, mortality rates were calculated for deprivation quintiles in England, split by individual ages and sex for three time periods (2002–2004, 2005–2007 and 2008–2010). The results showed evidence for equalisation, with a clear decline in the ratio of mortality rates during late adolescence. However this decline was not accounted for by traditional explanations of the hypothesis. Overall, geographical inequalities were shown to be widening for the majority of ages, although there was some narrowing of patterns observed.

Suggested Citation

  • Green, Mark A., 2013. "The equalisation hypothesis and changes in geographical inequalities of age based mortality in England, 2002–2004 to 2008–2010," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 93-98.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:87:y:2013:i:c:p:93-98
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.03.029

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. West, Patrick, 1988. "Inequalities? Social class differentials in health in British youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 291-296, January.
    2. Williams, J. M. & Currie, C. E. & Wright, P. & Elton, R. A. & Beattie, T. F., 1997. "Socioeconomic status and adolescent injuries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(12), pages 1881-1891, June.
    3. Engström, K. & Laflamme, L. & Diderichsen, F., 2003. "Equalisation of socioeconomic differences in injury risks at school age? A study of three age cohorts of Swedish children and adolescents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(10), pages 1891-1899, November.
    4. Macintyre, Sally & West, Patrick, 1991. "Lack of class variation in health in adolescence: An artefact of an occupational measure of social class?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 395-402, January.
    5. Mackenbach, Johan P. & Kunst, Anton E., 1997. "Measuring the magnitude of socio-economic inequalities in health: An overview of available measures illustrated with two examples from Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 757-771, March.
    6. Chen, Edith & Martin, Andrew D. & Matthews, Karen A., 2006. "Socioeconomic status and health: Do gradients differ within childhood and adolescence?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(9), pages 2161-2170, May.
    7. West, Patrick, 1997. "Health inequalities in the early years: Is there equalisation in youth?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 833-858, March.
    8. West, Patrick & Sweeting, Helen, 2004. "Evidence on equalisation in health in youth from the West of Scotland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 13-27, July.
    9. Torsheim, Torbjorn & Currie, Candace & Boyce, William & Kalnins, Ilze & Overpeck, Mary & Haugland, Siren, 2004. "Material deprivation and self-rated health: a multilevel study of adolescents from 22 European and North American countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-12, July.
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    1. repec:spr:ijphth:v:63:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00038-018-1081-y is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:socmed:v:192:y:2017:i:c:p:102-111 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Age; Mortality; England; Inequality; Deprivation;


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