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It has consistently been shown in the UK that those living in households with access to a car have lower mortality rates than those without household car access.1 It has usually been inferred from this that car ownership is a good marker of material living standards,2 and it has therefore been incorporated in several measures of area deprivation. It is often used in epidemiological studies as a measure of socioeconomic status in the absence of good data on income or occupational social class. Increasing attention has recently been given to a life course approach to socioeconomic determinants of health, with various indicators including car ownership being used to measure early in life conditions.3 The way in which the meaning of car access, …
Conflicts of interest: none.