Health inequalities: data

There is a lack of accurate and comprehensive data for measuring and monitoring many aspects of health inequalities – this is especially true for inequalities related to issues such as ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation etc. However, examples of socio-economic inequalities are presented within a number of topic pages of the website: for example, see mortality rates by area deprivation for all-causes, suicide, coronary heart disease, stroke and many more.

In addition Chart 1 (view chart) (taken from the Scottish Government’s Long-Term Monitoring of Health Inequalities report shows the increase over time in relative inequalities in all-cause mortality (<75 years) between 1997 and 2013. In 1997, rates were 2.7 times higher in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived; by 2013, this had increased to 3.2 times higher in the most deprived areas.

Chart 2 (view chart) (taken from the same report) shows that in absolute terms (i.e. the absolute difference between rates in the most deprived areas and the least deprived areas), the gap has narrowed over time.

(Note that these, and other, ways of measuring health inequalities are discussed in this ScotPHO report)

Elsewhere on the website, other relevant data are presented at different geographical levels, by gender, and some limited information on ethnicity-related health inequalities is also available. Note also that the ScotPHO profiles can be used to examine differences in a large number of health and wellbeing related indicators for small areas (principally intermediate zones) across Scotland.

Further sources of relevant data on health inequalities are included with the key data sources page.