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Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Feb 15;153(4):363-71.

Neighborhood socioeconomic status and all-cause mortality.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Public Health, The Netherlands.


This study sought to determine the contribution of neighborhood socioeconomic status to all-cause mortality and to explore its correlates. As part of the longitudinal "Gezondheid en LevensOmstandigheden Bevolking en omstreken" (GLOBE) study in the Netherlands, 8,506 randomly selected men and women aged 15-74 years from 86 neighborhoods in the city of Eindhoven reported on their socioeconomic status in the 1991 baseline survey. During the 6-year follow-up, 487 persons died. Neighborhood socioeconomic status was derived from individual reports on socioeconomic status. Its effect on mortality was stringently controlled for four individual-level socioeconomic indicators. Persons living in a neighborhood with a high percentage of unemployed/disabled or poor persons had a higher mortality risk than did those living in a neighborhood with a low percentage of unemployed/disabled or poor persons. This was independent of individual socioeconomic characteristics, including individual unemployment/disability or reports of severe financial problems. Educational and occupational neighborhood indicators were similarly, but less strongly, related to mortality. The prevalence of poor housing conditions, social disintegration, and unhealthy psychologic profiles and behaviors was higher in neighborhoods with a low socioeconomic status. Contextual effects of socioeconomic status may thus be due to one or more of these specific circumstances. The findings indicate potential public health benefits of modifying socioeconomic characteristics of areas.

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