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Social inequalities in health: measuring the contribution of housing deprivation and social interactions for Spain

Social inequalities in health: measuring the contribution of housing deprivation and social interactions for Spain

International Journal for Equity in Health 11: 77

ISSN/ISBN: 1475-9276

PMID: 23241384

DOI: 10.1186/1475-9276-11-77

Social factors have been proved to be main determinants of individuals' health. Recent studies have also analyzed the contribution of some of those factors, such as education and job status, to socioeconomic inequalities in health. The aim of this paper is to provide new evidence about the factors driving socioeconomic inequalities in health for the Spanish population by including housing deprivation and social interactions as health determinants. Cross-sectional study based on the Spanish sample of European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) for 2006. The concentration index measuring income-related inequality in health is decomposed into the contribution of each determinant. Several models are estimated to test the influence of different regressors for three proxies of ill-health. Health inequality favouring the better-off is observed in the distribution of self-assessed health, presence of chronic diseases and presence of limiting conditions. Inequality is mainly explained, besides age, by social factors such as labour status and financial deprivation. Housing deprivation contributes to pro-rich inequality in a percentage ranging from 7.17% to 13.85%, and social interactions from 6.16% to 10.19%. The contribution of some groups of determinants significantly differs depending on the ill-health variable used. Health inequalities can be mostly reduced or shaped by policy, as they are mainly explained by social determinants such as labour status, education and other socioeconomic conditions. The major role played on health inequality by variables taking part in social exclusion points to the need to focus on the most vulnerable groups.

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