Income inequality, household income, and health status in Canada: a prospective cohort study

Am J Public Health. 2003 Aug;93(8):1287-93. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.8.1287.


Objectives: This study sought to determine whether income inequality, household income, and their interaction are associated with health status.

Methods: Income inequality and area income measures were linked to data on household income and individual characteristics from the 1994 Canadian National Population Health Survey and to data on self-reported health status from the 1994, 1996, and 1998 survey waves.

Results: Income inequality was not associated with health status. Low household income was consistently associated with poor health. The combination of low household income and residence in a metropolitan area with less income inequality was associated with poorer health status than was residence in an area with more income inequality.

Conclusions: Household income, but not income inequality, appears to explain some of the differences in health status among Canadians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Censuses
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Family Characteristics
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Income / classification*
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Linear Models
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Disclosure
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*