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Income and Mortality – The Dynamics of Disparity

A Study on The Changing Association Between Income and Mortality in Finland

Tarkiainen Lasse

Disparity in longevity by income level has been reported in numerous studies. However, few studies have focused on the possible changes over time in the association between income and mortality. This study describes mortality trends in Finland by income quintiles, and investigates the age-, cause-of-death and socio-demographic structure of the changes in the association in 1988-2012 by using high-quality register data. The results reveal that life expectancy among the highest four income quintiles increased substantially in 1988-2007, but stagnation among men and minor increase among women caused the disparity with other quintiles to increase markedly in the lowest quintile. The excess mortality in the lowest income quintile originated substantially from the non-employed population but changes in the socio-demographic composition of the income quintiles offer very little explanations for the increasing disparity or stagnating mortality level in the lowest quintile. Alcohol-related causes of death have been the main drivers of the adverse mortality trend in the lowest quintile because of substantial rise in mortality to these causes among those with low income. Disparities in mortality to cancer and ischaemic heart disease among men also widened the gap in life expectancy.  The study also addresses possible explanations for the increasing disparity in mortality by income in terms of strengthening causal effect of low income as well as increasing selection into low income. These explanations are discussed in the context of societal changes in Finland including the recession of the early 1990s and increasing affordability and consumption of alcohol. Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences 16 (2016) Sociology

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  • Julkaisija Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2016
    Sivumäärä 128
    Kieli Englanti
    Sarjat Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences
    Ulkoasu B5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789515110770
    ISSN 2343-273X