Objective: To study the linkage between material deprivation and mortality from all causes, for men and women separately, in the capital cities of the provinces in Andalusia and Catalonia (Spain).
Methods: A small-area ecological study was devised using the census section as the unit for analysis. 188 983 Deaths occurring in the capital cities of the Andalusian provinces and 109 478 deaths recorded in the Catalan capital cities were examined. Principal components factorial analysis was used to devise a material deprivation index comprising the percentage of manual labourers, unemployment and illiteracy. A hierarchical Bayesian model was used to study the relationship between mortality and area deprivation.
Main results: In most cities, results show an increased male mortality risk in the most deprived areas in relation to the least depressed. In Andalusia, the relative risks between the highest and lowest deprivation decile ranged from 1.24 (Malaga) to 1.40 (Granada), with 95% credibility intervals showing a significant excess risk. In Catalonia, relative risks ranged between 1.08 (Girona) and 1.50 (Tarragona). No evidence was found for an excess of female mortality in most deprived areas in either of the autonomous communities.
Conclusions: Within cities, gender-related differences were revealed when deprivation was correlated geographically with mortality rates. These differences were found from an ecological perspective. Further research is needed in order to validate these results from an individual approach. The idea to be analysed is to identify those factors that explain these differences at an individual level.
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Funding: The results of this research form part of the AMCAC project, funded by the Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria (Dossiers 02/1308 and 02/0735), by the Consejería de Salud de la Junta de Andalucía (Dossier 128/02) and by the Red de Centros de Investigación en Epidemiología y Salud Pública.
Competing interests: None declared.
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