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N Z Med J. 1991 Apr 24;104(910):153-6.

Undiminished social class mortality differences in New Zealand men.

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Department of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine.


Social class mortality differences in New Zealand men aged 15-64 years have previously been examined for the period 1975-7. It was found that the lower social classes had mortality rates higher than the upper social classes with the mortality rate of the lowest class being approximately twice that of the highest class on a six category scale. The greatest relative social class differences were in men aged less than 35 years. The analysis has now been repeated for the period 1985-7. Mortality declined by 15% between 1975-7 and 1985-7, but the social class mortality differences were undiminished, and the mortality slope was actually slightly greater in the more recent time period. The primary significance of social class analyses is that they identify groups in the community which have an excess mortality that is potentially preventable. The findings of this study indicate that this potential has not been fully realised in New Zealand, since social class differences are undiminished despite the continuing decline in overall mortality.


Social class mortality differentials among men aged 15-64 years in New Zealand are analyzed for the period 1985-1987. The results show that such differentials are just as significant as they were in a previous study for the period 1975-1977, although overall mortality has declined some 15 percent since then.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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