On the measurement of inequalities in health

Soc Sci Med. 1991;33(5):545-57. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(91)90212-u.


This paper offers a critical appraisal of the various methods employed to date to measure inequalities in health. It suggests that only two of these--the slope index of inequality and the concentration index--are likely to present an accurate picture of socioeconomic inequalities in health. The paper also presents several empirical examples to illustrate of the dangers of using other measures such as the range, the Lorenz curve and the index of dissimilarity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abstracting and Indexing
  • Female
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries / epidemiology
  • Social Class*
  • Social Justice
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology