STUDY OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationships between education, social conditions, and mortality. DESIGN: An ecological study relating several measures of mortality to local rates of educational attainment at age 15/16 years and scores on the Department of the Environment's index of local conditions. SETTING: England and its 107 local education authority areas in 1991. MAIN RESULTS: Educational attainment was closely associated with all cause, coronary, and infant mortality and strongly associated with the index of local conditions. This social index was also closely associated with all the measures of mortality. In multiple regression, the social index was the stronger correlate of all cause mortality but for coronary and infant mortality, educational attainment remained highly statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Area levels of both educational attainment and deprivation-affluence are strong correlates of local mortality rates in England. In these analyses educational attainment may be indexing the general cultural level of a community. Preliminary investigation with these ecological data suggests that deprivation-affluence has the stronger association but a surer assessment of their relative importance will require individual level information.
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