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Int J Health Serv. 2014;44(2):233-53.

Family policy and inequalities in health in different welfare states.


This article focuses on differences in health and welfare outcomes for families with children in three European countries, discussed in relation to national policies for child and family welfare. Data consist of policy documents and cross-national surveys. The document analysis was based on policy documents that described government policies. The statistical analyses utilize data from the European Social Survey. For the analyses in this article, a sub-sample of child families was selected from the countries Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Data showed that England's policy has mainly addressed socially disadvantaged groups and areas. Sweden and Slovenia are mainly developing universal policies. The United Kingdom has high scores for subjective general health, but a steep income gradient in the population. Parents in England experience the highest level of at-risk-of-poverty. Sweden generally scores well on health outcomes and on level of at-risk-of-poverty, and the gradient in self-rated general health is the mildest. Slovenia has the weakest economy, but low levels of inequality and low child at-risk-for-poverty scores. The Slovenian example suggests that not only the level of economic wealth, but also its distribution in the population, has bearings on health and life satisfaction, not least on the health of children.

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