Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Public Health. 2001 Jan;91(1):99-104.

Socioeconomic inequality in voting participation and self-rated health.

Author information

Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Center for Society and Health, Boston, Mass., USA.



This study tested the hypothesis that disparities in political participation across socioeconomic status affect health. Specifically, the association of voting inequality at the state level with individual self-rated health was examined.


A multilevel study of 279,066 respondents to the Current Population Survey (CPS) was conducted. State-level inequality in voting turnout by socioeconomic status (family income and educational attainment) was derived from November CPS data for 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996.


Individuals living in the states with the highest voting inequality had an odds ratio of fair/poor self-rated health of 1.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22, 1.68) compared with individuals living in the states with the lowest voting inequality. This odds ratio decreased to 1.34 (95% CI = 1.14, 1.56) when state income inequality was added and to 1.27 (95% CI = 1.10, 1.45) when state median income was included. The deleterious effect of low individual household income on self-rated health was most pronounced among states with the greatest voting and income inequality.


Socioeconomic inequality in political participation (as measured by voter turnout) is associated with poor self-rated health, independently of both income inequality and state median household income.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center