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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2002 Aug;26(4):311-7.

Socio-economic mortality differentials in Sydney over a quarter of a century, 1970-94.

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Department of Family and Community Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, The University of Sydney, New South Wales.



To examine trends in socio-economic differentials in all-cause mortality in Sydney over a 25-year period (1970-94).


Five measures of single indicators (two for occupation, two for education and one for income) and a composite measure of socio-economic disadvantage based on Census data (the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage) were used as indicators of socio-economic status by local govemment area. The relationship between mortality and socio-economic status was examined using quintiles based on these six measures of socio-economic status.


Socio-economic differentials in mortality were evident for males and females for all periods, and over the 25-year period the relative socio-economic differentials did not decline. For males, the socio-economic status differential in mortality widened, irrespective of socio-economic status indicator used, whereas for females it widened only when certain socio-economic indicators were used: occupation (unemployment measure) and income, but was not significant for the other single indicators or for the composite indicator.


Sydney trends of widening inequalities are generally similar to those reported for Britain and for other industrialised countries, suggesting that this is a common phenomenon and that policies to reduce health inequalities over the past quarter of a century have not been effective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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