Abstract

White C, van Galen F, Huang Chow Y. Trends in social class differences in mortality by cause. Health Statistics Quarterly 2003; 20 (Winter): 25-37.

This article extends previous research on social class trends in mortality, to include both sexes and the whole of the 1990s. It reports two sets of analyses by social class and cause of death at ages 3564: age-standardised mortality rates in 199399 for men and women in England and Wales using the ONS Longitudinal Study (LS), and proportional mortality rates in 19932000 for men and women in England and Wales and in 199199 for men in Scotland using death registrations. Although overall mortality fell, inequalities increased for men and decreased for women. A major contribution to the increasing social class gap in male mortality was made by ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and respiratory diseases, where large falls in deaths in Social Classes I&II were not matched by the lower social classes. The inverse social gradient in breast cancer contributed to the relative improvement of mortality rates in women in the lower social classes. This combined use of the LS and death registrations have benefits in overcoming the limitations of both data sources.