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Indicators of socioeconomic position (part 1)
  1. Bruna Galobardes1,
  2. Mary Shaw1,2,
  3. Debbie A Lawlor1,
  4. John W Lynch3,
  5. George Davey Smith1
  1. 1Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2South West Public Health Observatory, UK
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Center for Social, Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B Galobardes
 Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK; bruna.galobardes{at}


This glossary presents a comprehensive list of indicators of socioeconomic position used in health research. A description of what they intend to measure is given together with how data are elicited and the advantages and limitation of the indicators. The glossary is divided into two parts for journal publication but the intention is that it should be used as one piece. The second part highlights a life course approach and will be published in the next issue of the journal.

  • health
  • indicators
  • social class
  • social epidemiology
  • socioeconomic position

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  • Funding: The work of JWL and GDS is supported (in part) by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigators Award in Health Policy Research. Funds from this award also partly support BG. MS is funded by the South West Public Health Observatory. DAL is funded by a UK Career Scientist Award. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily any funding bodies.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.