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Am J Public Health. 1994 Jun;84(6):932-7.

The size of mortality differences associated with educational level in nine industrialized countries.

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Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



This study addresses the question of whether inequalities in premature mortality related to educational level differ among countries.


Data on mortality by educational level were obtained from longitudinal studies from nine industrialized countries. The data referred to men between 35 and 64 years of age. The follow-up periods occurred between 1970 and 1982. The size of mortality differences associated with educational level was measured by means of two inequality indices, both based on Poisson regression analysis.


Inequalities in mortality are relatively small in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway and about two times as large in the United States, France, and Italy. Finland and England and Wales occupy intermediate positions. The large inequalities in mortality in the United States and France can be attributed in part to large inequalities in education in these countries.


The international pattern found in this study was also observed in a comparison that used occupation as the socioeconomic indicator. Differences between countries in levels of inequality in mortality may be partially explained by the countries' different levels of egalitarian social and economic policies.

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