Social class mortality differences in New Zealand males aged 15 to 64 were investigated for the period 1974-8 using the Registrar-General's classification. The mortality gradient was similar to that previously found in England and Wales, but the New Zealand pattern was non-linear with particularly high mortality in class V. Smoking patterns accounted for much of the increased risk for classes III and IV but did not appear to explain the high mortality in class V. The patterns for the major disease groupings also paralleled those previously found in England and Wales, coronary heart disease and neoplasms displaying weaker gradients than accidents, respiratory diseases, digestive diseases, and infectious diseases. Maori and non-Maori males had comparable social class mortality gradients, but the Maori mortality rates were approximately 50% higher than the non-Maori rates in each class.
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