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Four Decades of Educational Inequalities in Hospitalization and Mortality among Older Swedes
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
Number of Authors: 3
2016 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 11, no 3, e0152369Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background The inverse association between education and mortality has grown stronger the last decades in many countries. During the same period, gains in life expectancy have been concentrated to older ages; still, old-age mortality is seldom the focus of attention when analyzing trends in the education-mortality gradient. It is further unknown if increased educational inequalities in mortality are preceded by increased inequalities in morbidity of which hospitalization may be a proxy. Methods Using administrative population registers from 1971 and onwards, education-specific annual changes in the risk of death and hospital admission were estimated with complimentary log-log models. These risk changes were supplemented by estimations of the ages at which 25, 50, and 75% of the population had been hospitalized or died (after age 60). Results The mortality decline among older people increasingly benefitted the well-educated over the less well-educated. This inequality increase was larger for the younger old, and among men. Educational inequalities in the age of a first hospital admission generally followed the development of growing gaps, but at a slower pace than mortality and inequalities did not increase among the oldest individuals. Conclusions Education continues to be a significant predictor of health and longevity into old age. That the increase in educational inequalities is greater for mortality than for hospital admissions (our proxy of overall morbidity) may reflect that well-educated individuals gradually have obtained more possibilities or resources to survive a disease than less well-educated individuals have the last four decades.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 11, no 3, e0152369
National Category
Sociology Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130139DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152369ISI: 000373121800063PubMedID: 27031107OAI: diva2:929054
Available from: 2016-05-17 Created: 2016-05-09 Last updated: 2016-05-17Bibliographically approved

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Torssander, Jenny
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