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Ethnic inequalities in limiting health and self-reported health in later life revisited
  1. Maria Evandrou1,2,
  2. Jane Falkingham2,
  3. Zhixin Feng1,
  4. Athina Vlachantoni1,2
  1. 1Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences Centre for Research on Ageing, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Maria Evandrou, Centre for Research on Ageing, Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK; maria.evandrou{at}


Background It is well established that there are ethnic inequalities in health in the UK; however, such inequalities in later life remain a relatively under-researched area. This paper explores ethnic inequalities in health among older people in the UK, controlling for social and economic disadvantages.

Methods This paper analyses the first wave (2009–2011) of Understanding Society to examine differentials in the health of older persons aged 60 years and over. 2 health outcomes are explored: the extent to which one's health limits the ability to undertake typical activities and self-rated health. Logistic regression models are used to control for a range of other factors, including income and deprivation.

Results After controlling for social and economic disadvantage, black and minority ethnic (BME) elders are still more likely than white British elders to report limiting health and poor self-rated health. The ‘health disadvantage’ appears most marked among BME elders of South Asian origin, with Pakistani elders exhibiting the poorest health outcomes. Length of time resident in the UK does not have a direct impact on health in models for both genders, but is marginally significant for women.

Conclusions Older people from ethnic minorities report poorer health outcomes even after controlling for social and economic disadvantages. This result reflects the complexity of health inequalities among different ethnic groups in the UK, and the need to develop health policies which take into account differences in social and economic resources between different ethnic groups.

  • Health inequalities

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