Socioeconomic disparities in health: pathways and policies

Health Aff (Millwood). Mar-Apr 2002;21(2):60-76. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.21.2.60.


Socioeconomic status (SES) underlies three major determinants of health: health care, environmental exposure, and health behavior. In addition, chronic stress associated with lower SES may also increase morbidity and mortality. Reducing SES disparities in health will require policy initiatives addressing the components of socioeconomic status (income, education, and occupation) as well as the pathways by which these affect health. Lessons for U.S. policy approaches are taken from the Acheson Commission in England, which was charged with reducing health disparities in that country.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Educational Status
  • England / epidemiology
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Occupations
  • Poverty
  • Social Class
  • Social Environment
  • Social Justice
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • United States / epidemiology