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Socioeconomic inequalities in mortality within ethnic groups in the Netherlands, 1995–2000
  1. Vivian Bos1,
  2. Anton E Kunst1,
  3. Joop Garssen2,
  4. Johan P Mackenbach1
  1. 1Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Netherlands
  2. 2Statistics Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Ms V Bos
 Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands;


Study objective: To analyse socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in Dutch, Turkish, Moroccans, Surinamese, and Antillean/Aruban men and women living in the Netherlands and to assess the contribution of specific causes of death to these inequalities.

Design: Open cohort design using data from the Municipal Population Registers and cause of death registry.

Setting: the Netherlands from 1995 through 2000.

Participants: All inhabitants of the Netherlands.

Main outcome measures: This study calculated directly standardised mortality rates by mean neighbourhood income and estimated relative mortality ratios comparing the two lowest socioeconomic groups with the two highest socioeconomic groups for all and cause specific mortality by country of origin and sex.

Main results: Socioeconomic differences in total mortality were comparatively large in Dutch, (RR = 1.49, CI = 1.46 to 1.52), Surinamese (1.32, 1.19 to 1.46), and Antillean/Aruban men (1.56, 1.29 to 1.89) and in Dutch (1.39, 135 to 1.42) and Surinamese women (1.27, 1.11 to 1.46). They were comparatively small among Turkish (1.10, 0.99 to 1.23) and Moroccan men (1.10, 0.97 to 1.26) and among Turkish (1.13, 0.97 to 1.33), Moroccan (1.12, 0.93 to 1.35) and Antillean/Aruban women (1.03, 0.80 to 1.33). The mortality differences among the Dutch were partly attributable to inequalities in mortality from cardiovascular diseases, whereas among Antillean/Aruban men external causes strongly contributed to the mortality differences. The small differences among Turkish and Moroccan men were due to a lack of inequalities for cardiovascular diseases and small inequalities for the other causes.

Conclusions: The impact of socioeconomic status on mortality differed between ethnic groups living in the Netherlands. Maintaining small socioeconomic inequalities in mortality among Turkish and Moroccans men and women and among Antillean/Aruban women could prevent future increases in overall mortality in these groups.

  • socioeconomic status
  • ethnicity
  • mortality

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  • Funding: this study is funded by the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Culture and Health Programme, file number 261-98-612.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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