Global income related health inequalities

Jalil Safaei


Income related health inequalities have been estimated for various groups of individuals at local, state, or national levels. Almost all of theses estimates are based on individual data from sample surveys. Lack of consistent individual data worldwide has prevented estimates of international income related health inequalities. This paper uses the (population weighted) aggregate data available from many countries around the world to estimate worldwide income related health inequalities. Since the intra-country inequalities are subdued by the aggregate nature of the data, the estimates would be those of the inter-country or international health inequalities. As well, the study estimates the contribution of major socioeconomic variables to the overall health inequalities. The findings of the study strongly support the existence of worldwide income related health inequalities that favor the higher income countries. Decompositions of health inequalities identify inequalities in both the level and distribution of income as the main source of health inequality along with inequalities in education and degree of urbanization as other contributing determinants. Since income related health inequalities are preventable, policies to reduce the income gaps between the poor and rich nations could greatly improve the health of hundreds of millions of people and promote global justice.
Keywords: global, income, health inequality, socioeconomic determinants of health


income. health inequality, socioeconomic determinants of health

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