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Soc Sci Med. 2002 Mar;54(5):693-706.

Investigating socio-economic explanations for gender and ethnic inequalities in health.

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Methodology Group, Office for National Statistics, Tichfield, Fareham, UK.


This paper examines inequalities in the self-reported health of men and women from white and minority ethnic groups in the UK using representative data from the Health Survey for England, 1993-1996. The results show substantially poorer health among all minority ethnic groups compared to whites of working-age. The absence of gender inequality in health among white adults contrasts with higher morbidity for many minority ethnic women compared to men in the same ethnic group. The analysis addresses whether socio-economic inequality is a potential explanation for this pattern of health inequality using measures of educational level, employment status, occupational social class and material deprivation. There are marked socio-economic differences according to gender and ethnic group: high morbidity is concentrated among adults who are most socio-economically disadvantaged, notably Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Logistic regression analyses show that socio-economic inequality can account for a sizeable proportion of the health disadvantage experienced by minority ethnic men and women, but gender inequality in minority ethnic health remains after adjusting for socio-economic characteristics.

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