STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to analyse occupational mortality differences among women using follow up data from a large nationally representative sample. DESIGN--Occupational information was obtained from the 1971 census records of women in the Longitudinal Study carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) and related to their subsequent mortality in the period between the 1971 and 1981 censuses. SETTING--In the Longitudinal Study, census, vital statistics, and other OPCS records are linked for a 1% sample of the population of England and Wales. The women studied in this paper were drawn from the 513,071 persons in the 1971 census who were included in the Longitudinal Study and whose entries were traced at the National Health Service Central Register by 1977. PARTICIPANTS--The analysis was based on 77,081 women aged 15-59 years in the Longitudinal Study for whom occupational information was collected in the 1971 census (99% of whom were in paid employment in the week before the census). There were 1553 deaths among these women in the follow up period analysed here. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Numbers of deaths in each occupational group at census were compared to those expected on the basis of age specific death rates among all women in the study. "Professional, technical workers, and artists" had significantly low mortality while "Engineering and allied trades workers nec" had significantly high mortality. Among the latter, cancer mortality of electrical production process workers was extremely high. A number of other cause specific associations (which appear to confirm proportionate Decennial Supplement analyses) were suggested by the data; examples include high levels of mortality from ischaemic heart disease among cooks, lung cancer and respiratory disease among charwomen and cleaners, and accidents, poisonings, and violence among several groups of professional and technical workers. CONCLUSIONS--By using prospective follow up from the census, occupational differences in mortality can be identified among women in paid employment. As follow up of this study continues, numbers of deaths available for analysis will increase, allowing increasingly comprehensive analyses to be undertaken.
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