Monitoring socioeconomic disparities in death: comparing individual-level education and area-based socioeconomic measures

Am J Public Health. 2006 Dec;96(12):2135-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.075408. Epub 2006 Jun 29.


We compared all-cause mortality rates stratified by individual-level education and by census tract area-based socioeconomic measures for Massachusetts (1999-2001). Among persons aged 25 and older, the age-adjusted relative index of inequality was slightly higher for the census tract than for the individual education measures (1.5 vs 1.2, respectively). Only the census tract socioeconomic measures could provide a relative index of inequality (2-3) for deaths before age 25 or detect expected socioeconomic disparities for deaths among persons 65 and older (relative index of inequality= approximately 1.2 vs 0.8 for census tract measures and individual education, respectively).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Censuses
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Small-Area Analysis*
  • Socioeconomic Factors