Changing health inequalities in a changing society? Sweden in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s

Scand J Public Health Suppl. 2001:55:31-9.


Whereas the end of the 1980s was characterized by an economic boom, the early 1990s saw the worst recession since the 1930s. In Sweden, the crisis that started in the fall of 1991 and culminated in 1995 meant dramatically increased unemployment rates followed by cutbacks in welfare state programs. In addition, other major changes in economic and political conditions have taken place during this period, including tax reforms and EU membership. Although public health as well as health inequalities are likely to be linked with these kinds of macro changes, it is unclear what types of changes in health and health inequalities one would expect. In this paper analyses of Swedish data on health inequalities in the periods 1986-87 and 1994-95 are undertaken on the basis of the Swedish Surveys of Living Conditions. The main finding is that overall health levels as well as differences in health between men and women, different age groups, educational groups, social classes, and employment status groups have remained constant.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Employment / trends
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Change*
  • Social Class
  • Social Welfare / economics
  • Social Welfare / trends*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Sweden / epidemiology