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Stat Bull Metrop Insur Co. 1994 Apr-Jun;75(2):31-5.

The widening gap between socioeconomic status and mortality.

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National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD.


Despite important declines in U.S. death rates since 1960, poor and less-educated people have not shared equally in this decline. Data from the 1986 National Mortality Followback Survey and the 1986 National Health Interview Survey were compared to data from the 1960 Matched Record Study. The data clearly show an inverse relationship between mortality and socioeconomic status. Results further indicate a widening of differences in mortality by education among both men and women aged 25 to 64. That is, the mortality differential has increased between those with higher levels of education and those with lower educational attainment. The disparity in mortality rates increased between 1960 and 1986 for both sexes. These findings focus attention on the disparity in death rates for subgroups of the population and point to the increasing need to address socioeconomic differentials to close the gap.

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