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Are self-reported health inequalities widening by income? An analysis of British pseudo birth cohorts born, 1920–1970


Introduction The health of the British population has been shown to be worsening by self-reported health and improving by self-reported limiting illness for those born before and after 1945. Little is known about the inequality in health difference across British birth cohorts by income.

Methods Repeated cross-sections from the British General Household Survey, 1979–2011, are used to create pseudo birth cohorts born, 1920–1970, and their gender stratified, age-adjusted limiting illness and self-rated health (SRH) are estimated by household income tertiles. Absolute and relative differences between the poorest and richest income groups are reported.

Results Absolute inequalities in limiting illness between the richest and poorest households have doubled in women and increased by one and a half times in men for those born in 1920–1922 compared with those born in 1968–1970. Relative inequalities in limiting illness increased by a half in women and doubled in men. Absolute inequalities in SRH between the richest and poorest households increased by almost half in women and more than half in men and relative inequalities increased by 18% in women and 14% in men for those born in 1920–1922 compared with those born in 1968–1970.

Conclusion Inequalities in self-reported health at the same age by household income have widened for successively later-born British cohorts.

  • health inequalities
  • self-rated health
  • statistics
  • socio-economic

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