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Release: Age-Specific Mortality Rates by NS-SEC in England and Wales, 1982-86 to 2002-06

Released: 22 February 2013


Andrew Yeap

Health Analysis Branch

Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456186

Categories: Health Care System, Health of the Population, Health and Social Care, Health Inequalities

Frequency of release: Ad-hoc

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Country

  • The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) is a system designed to group occupations by their underlying social advantage. For example, medical doctors are grouped under the most advantaged NS-SEC class (Higher Managerial and Professional class 1) while bus drivers are grouped in the least advantaged class in work (Routine class 7). Advantage here refers to preferential reward structures, career development opportunities and greater autonomy in how the work is undertaken.

  • Age-specific mortality rates fell between 1982–86 and 2002–06 for both males and females: among males at ages 60 and above, the decline in the rate of death was sizeable and generally significant in both NS-SEC classes 1 and 7.

  • At ages 60 to 84, a consistent socio-economic pattern for mortality was present between 1982-86 and 2002-06 for both males and females. The rate of death was highest among the routine and manual class, followed by the intermediate class, with the managerial and professional class having the lowest rates.

  • Statistically significant differences in absolute mortality at ages 60–84 between the managerial and professional and routine and manual classes were present in both the earliest (1982–86) and latest (2002–06) time periods, suggesting the social inequality in mortality at these ages has persisted over time.

  • There was no evidence of either a significant increase or decrease in social inequality in mortality between managerial and professional and routine and manual classes over time; however, relative differences in mortality were observed, with a larger relative decline in the mortality rate for the managerial and professional class compared to the routine and manual class.

  • At ages 60–84, mortality rates for females in the least advantaged NS-SEC class 7 were more comparable to those for males in the most advantaged NS-SEC class 1 across the study period, illustrating the gender inequality in mortality. This gender gap, however, narrowed from 1982–86 to 2002–06 for both the most and least advantaged NS-SEC classes.

A comprehensive volume of analysis and commentary which presents a picture of the trend in mortality in England and Wales by a measure of socio-economic position, NS-SEC, to highlight the extent of social inequalities in mortality at specific ages over time.

These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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