Objectives: We examined whether the risk of premature mortality associated with living in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods varies according to the health status of individuals.
Methods: Community-dwelling adults (n = 566,402; age = 50-71 years) in 6 US states and 2 metropolitan areas participated in the ongoing prospective National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, which began in 1995. We used baseline data for 565,679 participants on health behaviors, self-rated health status, and medical history, collected by mailed questionnaires. Participants were linked to 2000 census data for an index of census tract socioeconomic deprivation. The main outcome was all-cause mortality ascertained through 2006.
Results: In adjusted survival analyses of persons in good-to-excellent health at baseline, risk of mortality increased with increasing levels of census tract socioeconomic deprivation. Neighborhood socioeconomic mortality disparities among persons in fair-to-poor health were not statistically significant after adjustment for demographic characteristics, educational achievement, lifestyle, and medical conditions.
Conclusions: Neighborhood socioeconomic inequalities lead to large disparities in risk of premature mortality among healthy US adults but not among those in poor health.